The woes of convicted lobbyist Michael Scanlon continue. The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas filed a lawsuit this month against the former Riley aide and others, including his partner Jack Abramoff. Miami-based law firm Greenberg Traurig is trying to settle to avoid being named in the lawsuit.
Although the suit does not name Greenberg Traurig, it accuses the firm of allowing Abramoff associate Michael Scanlon to bill hours through the firm, and of allowing checks sent by the tribe to a bogus Abramoff-linked think tank to be funneled and cashed through Greenberg Traurig.
The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Austin, Texas, on July 12, names as defendants Abramoff, two other former Greenberg Traurig lobbyists, Jon Van Horne and Neil Volz, Abramoff’s former close associate Scanlon, and former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, who just lost the Georgia Republican primary for governor.
The lawsuit also provides fresh evidence of a closer connection between Greenberg Traurig and Michael Scanlon than the law firm has ever acknowledged. Scanlon was Abramoff’s close partner in many widely criticized lobbying practices. He pleaded guilty last year to bribing a congressman.
The suit alleges that the defendants used millions of dollars from the Louisiana-Coushatta Tribe to stop a Texas measure that would allow the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe to run a casino.
According to the suit, “The Defendants convinced the people of Texas, Texas legislators and the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe that Christian organizations opposed the bill on moral grounds.” How? Well, Scanlon wrote his strategy in a memo to the Louisiana-Coushatta Tribe:
“The wackos get their information through the Christian right, Christian radio, mail, the internet and telephone trees,” Scanlon wrote in the memo, which was read into the public record at a hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. “Simply put, we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them.”
After successfully shutting down the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe’s short-lived casino, the defendants allegedly then tried to recruit the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe as clients for the purpose of promoting its gambling interests.