Sunday, October 02, 2005

Reed fought ban on betting

The Atlanta Journal Constitution keeps finding smelly stuff about squeaky clean Ralph Reed-- and his work with Jack Abramoff for pro gambling interests. What a hypocrite: "Ralph Reed, who has condemned gambling as a 'cancer on the American body politic,' quietly worked five years ago to kill a proposed ban on Internet wagering --- on behalf of a company in the online gambling industry.

Reed, now a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia, helped defeat the congressional proposal despite its strong support among many Republicans and conservative religious groups. Among them: the national Christian Coalition organization, which Reed had left three years earlier to become a political and corporate consultant.

A spokesman for Reed said the political consultant fought the ban as a subcontractor to Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff's law firm. But he said Reed did not know 'the specific client' that had hired Abramoff: eLottery Inc., a Connecticut-based company that wants to help state lotteries sell tickets online --- an activity the gambling measure would have prohibited.

Reed declined to be interviewed for this article. His aides said he opposed the legislation because by exempting some types of online betting from the ban, it would have allowed online gambling to flourish. Proponents counter that even a partial ban would have been better than no restrictions at all.

Anti-gambling activists say they never knew that Reed, whom they once considered an ally, helped sink the proposal in the House of Representatives. Now some of them, who criticized other work Reed performed on behalf of Indian tribes that own casinos, say his efforts on eLottery's behalf undermine his image as a champion of public morality, which he cultivated as a leader of the religious conservative movement in the 1980s and '90s."


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