NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: a preview of this week’s Listening In.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Warren Smith now talks with political operative Ralph Reed. He spent almost a decade running the Christian Coalition, but today he heads a new organization called the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
EICHER: We pick up the conversation where Warren brings up a controversy involving Reed, lobbying, and payment by gambling interests. Reed was seeking political office in 2006, and revelation of the controversy may have derailed his campaign. Warren asks, anything you’d have done differently?
REED: Yeah, sure. I mean, I wouldn’t have worked on the issue. At the time, you know, my concern was that I not be paid with any revenues that came from a casino. I had been approached before to work on these issues because there’s always some gaming interests that doesn’t want somebody to come to the state next door.
So I’d been approached before and I said, look, I can only do it if I’m paid with revenue or funds that didn’t come from a competing casino. And every conversation I’d had before that ended the conversation, they said, well, we can’t really do that. So—
SMITH: And as a matter of principle, you were in—you were opposed to gambling—
REED: And still am.
SMITH: And you would want to work for organizations that would limit gambling, but in this particular case, the organization that wanted to limit gambling were other gambling interests that were competitors, and that’s the real—that’s where it ran afoul.
REED: And in the case of the main—I was working for a law firm that had gaming clients. The Indian tribe, that was that law firm’s main client paid me from revenues that came from other businesses. And all I will say is this, again, I would turn it down today, because I just wouldn’t work as a consultant on that issue. Now at Faith and Freedom, we still oppose casino gambling expansion.