COLUMNS

Dicey politics

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • March 29, 2005

by Karen Feld

buzz

Expect to hear more in the Georgia lieutenant governor race about the hypocrisy of the former darling of the Christian Coalition turned corporate lobbyist turned candidate, Ralph Reed. While publicly speaking against one Indian tribe’s gambling, it appears that Reed was quietly being paid $4 million by another tribe with an even bigger gambling operation. Reed, however, claims he was unaware that the money came from gambling interests. During President Bush’s drive for the 2000 GOP nomination, later disgraced energy dealer Enron paid Reed to push energy deregulation to Congress and the White House. In turn, Reed helped Bush defeat Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in the South Carolina primary. The tenacious McCain never forgets. His Indian Affairs subcommittee is investigating Indian gambling, which includes lobbying abuses, kickbacks and money laundering.

Ralph Reed
McCain
DeLay

Reed has close ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who’s under investigation by two congressional committees for allegedly defrauding Indian casinos. Word is that the $4 million Reed was paid for efforts to pull the Tigua tribe’s gambling license in Texas came from rival casinos in neighboring Louisiana represented by Abramoff and former DeLay aide Mike Scanlon. Although family values advocate Reed claims he is against gambling – whether he knew it or not – it certainly appears he received money from gambling interests on this gig.

What’s in the cards for Reed? It’ll take more than a lucky spin of the wheel for DeLay to exterminate this brewing scandal, and it’s likely that Reed’s opponent will keep the buzz going.Contemporary conservatism

Super-lawyer Bob Barnett brokered Mary Matalin’s new publishing imprint deal. Beginning next year, Matalin will publish at least a half dozen books a year for her conservative imprint at Simon & Schuster.

Democratic strategist James Carville, left, reacts as his wife, Republican strategist Mary Matalin, speaks during a roundtable discussion on “Meet The Press” at the NBC Studios May 9 in Washington.

Barnett is the Williams & Connelly attorney who negotiated book deals for both Clintons, but leaving partisan politics aside, he’s doing the same for the Cheneys. And no conflict of interest either. Barnett won’t be representing Matalin’s interest on the publishing side.

The deal results from a friendship between Matalin and David Rosenthal, the Simon & Schuster VP, who while at Random House co-edited “All’s Fair,” a collaboration between Matalin and hubby James Carville.

Challenge to a blue dog

D.C. appeals to yet another baseball great. Ex-Atlanta Braves pitcher and Baseball Hall of Famer Dale Murphy, R, 49, is eyeing a challenge to the independent-thinking, third-term Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, co-chair of the fiscally conservative Blue Dogs.

And the beat goes on

We’re glad to hear that Phil Merrill, 71, mini-media mogul (Capital Gazette and Washingtonian) and diplomat (president of the Export-Import Bank), is doing remarkably well after triple bypass surgery. He was back at his desk in two weeks time and is currently traveling to Kyoto, Japan. You can’t keep him down!

Insouciant chef

Perhaps Marc Silverstein is the “Best of the Food Network.” At the recent International Wine & Food Festival at the Washington Convention Center, Silverstein and his wife, ABC-7 Health Reporter Kathy Fowler at his side, provided commentary and fielded audience questions – but some foodies found his observations bordered on heckling and his hard-boiled hawking of his cookbook, “Food Network – Best of the Best of -“,” unappetizing.

It was a Good Friday

Hmmm, some guys get to have a very Good Friday. Diners were buzzing about NBC-4’s Wendy Rieger canoodling with a very handsome guy at the cozy La Chaumiere in Georgetown.

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