Ouch. As we've noted many times here, GOP uber-operative Grover Norquist
used his nonprofit Americans for Tax Reform to wash money for Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed. Reed didn't want it known, remember, that he's "kind of like hypocritical
." The story is memorably told by Abramoff's emails and various players' testimony to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
But not so fast, says Grover
. He can explain why large amounts of casino money flowed into his organization and then flowed out to Christian groups. He was
going to work for the casino, but then decided not to.
The Choctaw tribe of Mississippi donated $1.225 million to ATR, which then paid $1.15 million out (there were $75,000 in "management fees
"). Why? ATR had just been indecisive.
Norquist said in The Post interview that the Choctaw tribe originally wanted ATR to direct the anti-lottery campaign, but his organization decided that it would be better to assist Christian groups already fighting the lottery.
"When we looked at it, we said they have an actual ongoing effort, we don't need to run it and [could instead] just contribute there, which was a continuation of the previous coalition," Norquist said. "They said fine."
It's hard to even know where to start here. First, you'd have to note Abramoff's email to himself in September of 1999, "Call Ralph re Grover doing pass through." Or his email to Reed on 2/2/00 asking "Let me know if it will work just to do this through ATR until we find another group."
Second, you might mention that according to the recent McCain report, the Choctaw representative told Senate investigators that ATR "was not involved and was not considering getting involved in any efforts the Choctaw ultimately paid Reed and others to oppose."
But what makes this explanation implausible on its face is the fact that Grover laundered the $1.15 million through ATR over a period of several months. The Choctaw made the payments (three for $300,000 and one for $325,000) from October, 1999 through March, 2000. Each time, ATR turned around and passed the money (thrice taking a $25,000 cut) on to Reed's chosen Christian groups.
So this indecision, did it occur each of the four times?