Monday, February 06, 2006

AJC: Reed, Abramoff, Enron connection revealed

AJC political reporters Baxter and Galloway did some digging through the Enron emails: "Enron, meet Jack Abramoff. Jack Abramoff, meet Enron.

One year before the energy firm went belly up, paid adviser Ralph Reed urged Enron officials to hire Abramoff, then a rising Washington lobbyist, as a 'kitchen cabinet' consultant.

The e-mailed endorsement resulted in clubby lunches in which Abramoff and Enron reps, future icons of scandal in Washington and on Wall Street, sat across the table from each other.

It's well-known that Reed worked for both Enron and Abramoff. That he helped them cross paths is not. The e-mail has never been published before.

Reed's plug for his old friend serves as further evidence his professional relationship with Abramoff was closer than Reed --- a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor --- cares to admit.

In a lower-cased e-mail dated Dec. 19, 2000, Reed tapped out: 'abramoff is arguably the most influential and effective gop lobbyist in congress. i share several clients with him and have yet to see him lose a battle. he also is very close to [then-House majority leader Tom] Delay and could help enormously.'

The message was addressed to Richard Shapiro, Enron's top lobbyist, who met with Abramoff several weeks later, without Reed --- according to Shapiro's electronic appointment calendar.

We came across the e-mail, and notations of several lunch dates, among tens of thousands of Enron documents available through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Web site."


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