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DNC McCain Watch: McCain Takes $1.75 Million in Tainted Funds

2008-08-19 11:20:00

    McCain Refuses Two Chances to Reject Ralph Reed's Tainted Funds, Reaps

$1.75 Million

    WASHINGTON, Aug. 19 /EMWNews/ -- The following was

released today by the Democratic National Committee:


    Last night John McCain held a fund-raiser in Atlanta, GA, with help

from George W. Bush smear architect and Jack Abramoff crony Ralph Reed, who

brags of being a member of McCain's "Victory 2008" team. Although Reed was

hastily directed away from attending the McCain fundraiser after a storm of

stories exposed Reed's $4.2-million-dollar tie to Abramoff and his lead

role in Bush's vicious 2000 smear campaign in South Carolina, McCain's

still accepting the $1.75 million Reed helped raise for him. It's more of

the same from McCain, whose double-talk on ethics means saying he'll ban

lobbyists from his campaign even as he embraces them behind closed doors,

on-board the Straight Talk Express, in the front rows of his campaign

events, and, as last night in Atlanta, at high-dollar fundraisers.

    The McCain campaign refused to cancel the fundraiser with

Abramoff-linked Ralph Reed even after non-partisan watch-dog organizations

called on McCain to do so - and after Representative Henry Waxman

criticized McCain, saying, "Raising money with Ralph Reed shows that the

John McCain who ran in 2000 would have a hard time considering voting for

the John McCain we see today." Instead of canceling the fundraiser, McCain

edged Reed out of the program as the McCain campaign launched a string of

excuses for his involvement.

    The McCain campaign claimed that "Reed has nothing to do with the

campaign, hadn't donated to it, and was not acting on the campaign's behalf

in the solicitation e-mail." But the campaign's feeble contradiction

doesn't hold up against what Reed himself said: "Reed told The Atlanta

Journal-Constitution that he sent the e-mail at the request of the campaign

and was given boilerplate language to use."

    Although McCain made sure Reed was not present last night, Reed's

tainted contributions to the McCain campaign were front and center. McCain

met with the donors Reed recruited in Atlanta last night - and accepted

$1.75 million in Reed-linked donations. Now it appears that McCain has

every intention of keeping the funds Reed raised for him.

    McCain has had two opportunities to reject Ralph Reed's tainted money -

first, to cancel the fundraiser, and now to refuse Reed's tainted funds -

but he's twice refused to clean up his campaign. McCain has descended to

accept fundraising help from the special interests he previously denounced

even in the face of very public, widespread criticism, showing there's no

limit to how far McCain will go to fund his desperate, negative attacks.

    See the DNC'S web video "Tainted" for more on McCain's connections to

Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed:



    Reed Blanketed South Carolina Conservative Voters with Negative

Information About McCain. During the South Carolina primary battle between

John McCain and Bush, Reed and his political firm contacted 400,000

conservative voters in the state with, according to Time magazine,

"negative phone calls and mailings about McCain. ('He claims he's

conservative, but he's pushed for higher taxes and waffled on protecting

innocent human life.')" Columnist Al Hunt wrote that Bush's win in South

Carolina was directly "attributable to the religious right," including

Reed. Hunt also noted that some circulars in the state referred to McCain

as "the 'fag candidate' and maligned his wife's earlier addiction to pills

and his adopted daughter from Bangladesh." [Time, 2/28/00; Al Hunt, column,

Wall Street Journal, 2/24/00]

    Reed Promised To Attack McCain In South Carolina On Bush's Behalf.

During an appearance on "This Week," Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol

quoted Bush adviser Ralph Reed as saying that in the event McCain won New

Hampshire, "'We've got Pat Robertson in reserve, and Pat Robertson will

come out for Bush after New Hampshire.' And Ralph Reed said to me, 'He'll

go negative on McCain.'" [American Prospect, 1/17/00; Shields column,

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 12/19/99; "This Week," ABC, 12/5/99]


    Reed Described Tactics As "Guerilla Warfare." In late 1991, Reed

described his political tactics and said, "I want to be invisible. I do

guerrilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don't know it's

over until you're in a body bag." In March 1992, Reed told the Los Angeles

Times, "It's better to move quietly, with stealth, under cover of night.

... It comes down to whether you want to be the British army in the

Revolutionary War or the Viet Cong. History tells us which tactic was more

effective." [Virginian-Pilot, 11/9/91, emphasis added; Los Angeles Times,

3/92, emphasis added]

    Reed Said Goal Was to Tailor Message and Add 10 Million Voters to

Christian Coalition. In January 1993, Ralph Reed outlined his goals for the

Christian Coalition and said, "At the Christian Coalition, our goal by

decade's end is to have 10 million voters identified according to their

most important issue concern, whether it is roads, schools, crime, or the

environment. We will effectively communicate with these voters and stress

their issues, not our issues." [Christian American, January 1993, emphasis



    Rove Helped Reed Get Lobbying Job with Enron. After receiving a

recommendation from then-Bush 2000 campaign strategist Karl Rove, Enron

hired Reed for lobbying services. According to the New York Times,

"Associates of Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's top political adviser, said he had

recommended a lucrative consulting contract with Enron for Ralph Reed, the

Republican strategist, as Mr. Bush was weighing whether to run for

president." In an October 23, 2000 memo to Enron, Reed wrote, "We are a

loyal member of your team and are prepared to do whatever fits your

strategic plan. ... In public policy, it matters less who has the best

arguments and more who gets heard -- and by whom." [New York Times,

1/25/02; Washington Post, 2/10/02; 2/17/02, emphasis added]

    Reed Proposed $380,000 Electricity Deregulation Lobbying Campaign to

Enron. In 1997, Reed proposed two lobbying campaigns -- a major media

campaign costing $380,000 or a grassroots campaign costing $177,000 -- to

help Enron deregulate electricity markets. According to the Washington

Post, "Reed proposed sending 20 'facilitating letters' to each of 17

members of the congressional commerce committees that handle deregulation.

Under the proposal, Enron would pay Reed's firm $170,000 for generating the

letters, each signed by a third party. Reed asked Enron to pay his firm

$25,000 to generate letters to the editors of newspapers, each signed by a

prominent figure. 'These op-eds and letters are then blast faxed to elected

officials, opinion leaders and civic activists for use in their own letters

and public statements.' He said his firm had recently 'placed' opinion

pieces in The Washington Post and the New York Times. A $79,500

telemarketing campaign would have cold-called citizens and offered to

immediately patch them through to Congress." [Washington Post, 2/17/02;

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3/3/02]



    Reed Received $4.2 million From Abramoff. Ralph Reed, former director

of the Christian Coalition, said he had agreed to be on McCain's "Victory

2008 Team" in an e-mail that solicited donations on McCain's behalf. The

Republican National Committee is hosting the fundraiser set for an Atlanta

hotel on Aug. 18. A House investigative committee in 2006 did not call Reed

as a witness, but concluded that he interceded with the Bush White House to

help some of Abramoff's clients. Reed's public relations firm also received

$4.2 million from Abramoff to mobilize Christian voters to fight the

opening of casinos that could compete with Abramoff's Indian tribe clients.

[AP, 8/14/2008]

    The Hill Noted Reed Was Never Been Called to Testify in the Senate

Indian Affairs Hearings. The Hill noted, "In an interview with The

Washington Post, Norquist denied that ATR was used to conceal the source of

funds sent to his and Abramoff's old friend, former Christian Coalition

chief Ralph Reed, and others. But Norquist and Reed never have been called

to testify under oath." [Editorial, The Hill, 6/28/06]



    Abramoff Associate Ralph Reed Raising Money for McCain. "The McCain

campaign has long been concerned about whether conservative Christian

voters would fall in line this fall. But last week Ralph Reed, the first

executive editor of the Christian Coalition and an unsuccessful 2006

candidate for Georgia lieutenant governor, invited well-heeled folks to a

"very special event" - that means a fundraiser - for McCain in downtown

Atlanta on August 18. Reed, whose campaign was torpedoed by his affiliation

with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, noted he's also agreed to serve as a

member of the McCain Victory 2008 Team, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

reported." [Washington Post, 8/12/08]

    McCain Refusing to Cancel Fundraiser with Abramoff-Linked Lobbyist

Ralph Reed. "Republican presidential candidate John McCain so far is

ignoring calls from several watchdog groups to cancel an Atlanta fundraiser

promoted by Ralph Reed, a longtime friend and business partner of

imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff." [The Hill, 8/12/08]

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