Sunday, October 16, 2005

Traditional values: $$$$

This story in the Washington Post really shows how rotten the core of the conservative movement has become since it gained power.

The Post tells the story of how a bill to ban Internet gambling went down to defeat back in the summer of 2000 after looking like it was on its way to being passed overwhelmingly. The bill was scuttled at the last minute, according to the story, by a senior aide to Tom DeLay at the behest of conservative super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. I guess that DeLay managed to keep his hands clean on this one since the Post is forced to lay the whole thing at the feet of his senior aide Tony Rudy, as if it was a freelance operation and DeLay wasn't fully versed with what was going on.

Abramoff helped scuttle the bill on behalf of his client eLottery Inc. which would have been out of business if the bill had become law. What is most amazing is that Abramoff was able to pull this off with the help of a number of the key players in the religious right establishment which is popularly believed to be opposed to gambling.

The work Abramoff did for eLottery is one focus of a wide-ranging federal corruption investigation into his dealings with members of Congress and government agencies. Abramoff is under indictment in another case in connection with an allegedly fraudulent Florida business deal...

Abramoff quietly arranged for eLottery to pay conservative, anti-gambling activists to help in the firm's $2 million pro-gambling campaign, including Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, and the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition. Both kept in close contact with Abramoff about the arrangement, e-mails show. Abramoff also turned to prominent anti-tax conservative Grover Norquist, arranging to route some of eLottery's money for Reed through Norquist's group, Americans for Tax Reform.

So the former head of the Christian Coalition and the leader of the Traditional Values Coalition were both on board this effort to prop up Internet gambling which is little more than outright robbery. That just shows that their real committment isn't to "values" so much as it is to the all-mighty dollar.

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