Former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed claimed in a 2001 e-mail to a lobbyist that he choreographed John Cornyn's efforts as Texas attorney general to shut down an East Texas Indian tribe's casino.
The lobbyist was Jack Abramoff, who is under federal investigation along with his partner Michael Scanlon, on allegations of defrauding six Indian tribes of about $80 million between 2001 and 2004. The e-mail, along with about a dozen others, were released last week as part of the investigation. In 2001, Abramoff was working as a lobbyist for the Louisiana Coushatta tribe to prevent rival gaming casinos from siphoning off its Texas customers. He paid Reed as a consultant, and Reed lobbied to get the Alabama-Coushatta and Tigua casinos closed in Texas.
In the Nov. 30, 2001, e-mail, Reed told Abramoff that 50 pastors led by Ed Young, of Second Baptist Church in Houston, would meet with Cornyn to urge him to shut down the Alabama-Coushatta tribe's casino near Livingston, Texas. He said Young would back up the request in writing.
"We have also choreographed Cornyn's response. The AG will state that the law is clear, talk about how much he wants to avoid repetition of El Paso and pledge to take swift action to enforce the law," Reed wrote. "He will also personally hand Ed Young a letter that commits him to take action in Livingston."
Cornyn, now a Republican U.S. senator, had filed a lawsuit in 1999 to shut down a casino operated by the Tigua tribe in El Paso, saying it violated the state's limited gambling laws. In 2002, federal courts shuttered the Tiguas' casino and Cornyn used that ruling to shut down the Alabama-Coushattas' casino.
The entire article, including the transcripts of the e-mail exchanged between Reed and Abramoff about Cornyn, can be found here.
Here's a question for my local paper, the Houston Chronicle: do you plan on investigating this and/or covering it yourselves or are you just going to rely on the wire reports?
(So far, the Austin American Statesman has an identical wire story. Houston Chronicle, nada. Dallas Morning News, zip. Thanks to Sean Paul at The Agonist for the tip.)
Update (11/14): Charles Kuffner has been all over this from the beginning, which was over a year ago.