Key figures in Abramoff scandal are back ‘in the middle of Republican politics’


In the wake of the massive corruption scandal that made him famous, Jack Abramoff retired from his prominent role in conservative politics. However, many of his former associates are back in the game, Rachel Maddow reported on Monday’s The Rachel Maddow Show. ”Not only are they not repentant,” she said, “they are now, in this election, in the middle of Republican politics.”

The most prominent example is Ralph Reed, the evangelical activist and former Christian Coalition leader who allegedly took money from Abramoff in exchange for staging anti-gambling protests intended to prevent new Indian casinos from opening. Abramoff, then a lobbyist representing several Indian tribes, is believed to have paid Reed for the protests in order to prevent rival casinos from opening near his clients.

After the scandal broke, Reed temporarily receded from his prominent role in conservative politics; now, he’s back. Currently, Reed is the head of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, an evangelical group that plans to put $10 million into this year’s election.

Reed’s former partner at the PR firm Century Strategies, Tim Phillips was also implicated in the Abramoff scandal; and, like Reed, Phillips is back in the news. Phillips and Reed, reportedly in cooperation with Abramoff, campaigned on behalf of the Northern Mariana Islands, then under fire for sweatshop conditions in their territory. Now Phillips is the head of the PAC Americans for Prosperity, described by the Huffington Post as “the Koch brothers’ primary political group.”

Even the National Center for Public Policy Research, which Abramoff reportedly used “to hide the source of funding for trips and other ventures intended to boost the interests of his lobbying clients,” is trying to continue the work on Voter ID laws abandoned by the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Key figures in Abramoff scandal are back 'in the middle of Republican politics'