Senate Majority Project

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Senate Uncovers More Abramoff-Cornyn Connections

E-mails released by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee yesterday further document how Republican super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his accomplice Ralph Reed used Sen. John Cornyn to further their scheme to extort millions from unsuspecting Native American tribes in Texas and Louisiana.

In an e-mail commenting on an article where Alabama Coushatta tribal leaders bragged about the number of Texas residents traveling to their casino near the border, Abramoff wrote “Have we launched on Cornyn? We need to do so now.” Reed and Abramoff had already launched a campaign to provide cover for Cornyn’s efforts to close a Tigua casino in Speaking Rock, and had discussed the campaign with Cornyn. The December 19th e-mail seems to outline a new campaign to “persuade” Cornyn to close the Alabama casino as well. A $250,000 check was sent from Capitol Campaign Strategies to Reed’s Century Strategies. And a memo from Abramoff partner Mike Scanlon dated January 6th noted that “The Texas Attorney General filed a lawsuit in federal court on Friday [Jan 4, 2002] to shut down the Alabama Coushatta’s ‘entertainment center’ in Livingston. This means that the threat of a class III facility near Houston has been completely eliminated.” Privately, Scanlon wrote to Abramoff saying “Yeah baby!!! … weeez gonna be rich!!!”

Previous e-mails released by the committee documented Reed and Abramoff’s desire to reward Cornyn for helping their cause. Specifically, in e-mails dated January 6th, after Cornyn sued the Alabama tribe, Reed said, “Hope these developments help with client, I think we should budget for an ataboy for Cornyn.”

On February 11th, Reed forwarded an e-mail to Abramoff containing an Associated Press article saying that Cornyn had won a procedural motion when the Supreme Court refused the Tigua tribe’s application for a stay that would keep their casino open. Reed wrote “can we now get an “attaboy” budget to give these guys air cover?”
Also released yesterday were e-mails detailing a Texas political plan Abramoff designed to defeat Texas Democrats who would frustrate Cornyn’s goal of keeping the Tigua casino closed. Reed specifically asked for help for Cornyn’s Senate race again on July 24, 2002 saying “This is total victory and should lead friends in TX to now want to launch the grassroots effort to insure that those elected officials who stood up for families and against casino gambling have support this fall. It is critical. The Governor’s race is too close to call and the Senate race is within the margin of error.” Previous reports show that Cornyn and the RNC received financial help from rival casino owners seeking to keep the Tigua casino closed.