Reed Doesn't Show at McCain Benefit He'd Help Publicize
By Perry Bacon Jr.
ATLANTA -- Ralph Reed, once one of the leading strategists in the Republican Party, found himself Monday night persona non grata at a fundraiser hosted by his party's presumptive presidential nominee.
Reed had sent an e-mail last week encouraging allies to join him at fundraiser for John McCain here, but by the time the senator from Arizona arrived in Atlanta, it was clear Reed was not attending the event. The Democratic National Committee had spent several days blasting McCain for allowing Reed to be involed in the fundraiser because of Reed's connections to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
McCain aides said Reed had never been involved in putting together the fundraiser, but they would not say if they told Reed not to attend the event.
Reed did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Reed, who had once been executive director of the Christian Coalition and was an adviser to the Bush 2004 campaign, has become a controversial figure in the party because of his connections to Abramoff. While Reed was never accused of a crime, e-mails released during the investigation of Abramoff's work showed close connections between the two men as they joined together to oppose the construction of some Indian gaming casinos in the South. Abramoff wanted to prevent new casinos from being built that would compete with the ones already established by some of the tribes that had hired him.
Much of the Abramoff investigation was conducted by the Indian Affairs Committee that was run at the time by McCain, and Reed and the Arizona senator are not known to be close.
McCain, who raised about $1.75 million at the event, did refer to Reed in his remarks here.
Posted at 10:55 PM ET on Aug 18, 2008
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