A timeline of Ralph Reed's casino controversy.
The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, which operates a large casino in Kinder, La., hires Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The tribe wants to prevent competition from other Indian casinos.
Abramoff allegedly directs longtime friend Reed to manage a behind-the-scenes effort to close the Tigua Indians' casino in El Paso, Texas.
As the Texas Legislature debates a bill authorizing tribal gaming, an organization called Committee Against Gambling Expansion runs radio ads that prompt a deluge of anti-casino telephone calls to lawmakers. The committee was incorporated by a Houston lobbyist who says Reed has been his client. The bill dies in the Texas Senate.
Late 2001 to early 2002
Reed organizes Texas pastors to provide what he calls "cover" for John Cornyn, then attorney general of Texas, who had filed a federal lawsuit to shut down the Tiguas' casino. The tribe and its supporters had said Cornyn would drive the Tiguas into poverty, but Reed mobilizes the pastors to counter with moral arguments against legalized gambling.
As the Tiguas' casino is about to close, Abramoff approaches tribal leaders and offers to lobby Congress to reverse the state's actions. He and a partner, public relations consultant Michael Scanlon, collect $4.2 million in fees from the tribe.
Abramoff enlists U.S. Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) to sponsor an amendment allowing the Tiguas to reopen their casino.
While the amendment is pending, Abramoff hires a jet to fly him, Ney and four others --- including Reed --- to play golf in Scotland. The Tiguas arranged for another tribe to pay $50,000 toward the cost of the trip.
Ney drops the amendment, saying he had been "duped" by Abramoff.
The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee conducts the first in a series of hearings to investigate Abramoff's dealings with the Tiguas and five other tribes he represented.
Sources: Documents released by the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee; AJC interviews.
(6-19-06, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.) (Complete story by Alan Judd at 6-19-05 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)