How a Lobbyist Stacked the Deck

The Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal continues to unravel. In a page one story, the Washington Post shows how Abramoff helped eLottery, a company that sells lottery tickets online, defeat the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act of 2000 by paying a coalition of Christian and other conservative groups to oppose the bill on the grounds that it would promote gambling. Dirty tricksters include Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, anti-tax conservative Grover Norquist, Robin Vanderwall of the Faith and Family Alliance (currently serving a seven-year prison term for internet solicitation of sex with minors). The Post report also notes the role of Matthew Blair, a freelance lobbyist working for the Shandwick Worldwide PR firm, who tried to get Florida governor Jeb Bush to sign a public letter opposing the anti-gambling bill. (When Bush refused, Blair forged Bush's signature and sent out the letter anyway.)