Ralph Reed proposed to mobilize the religious right for Enron’s business dealings, according to an October 2000 memorandum that Reed sent to Rick Shapiro, an Enron vice president.
Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition and current chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, wanted $380,000 for his services.
In the seven-page memo, Reed said he would activate religious leaders and pro-family organizations to help Enron deregulate the electricity market, reported the Washington Post, which obtained the October memo.
Reed wrote that “we have the capacity to generate dozens of high-touch letters from an elected official’s strongest supporters and the most influential opinion leaders in his district,” according to Sunday’s Post. “Elected officials and regulators will be predisposed to favor greater market-oriented solutions if they hear from business, civic, and religious leaders in their communities.”
The Post said Reed claimed operatives in 32 states.
The New York Times carried an article in late January which reported that “Enron paid Mr. Reed $10,000 to $20,000 a month, the amount varying by year and the particular work, people familiar with the arrangement say.”
The Times reported that Reed obtained his position with Enron on a recommendation from Karl Rove, Bush’s top political advisor.
A close associate of Rove told the Times that Reed was recommended “to keep Mr. Reed’s allegiance to the Bush campaign without putting him on the Bush payroll.”
The Times cited an unnamed Republican who said, “‘It was basically accepted that Enron took care of Ralph. It’s a smart way to cut campaign costs and tie people up’ so they do not work for other candidates.”
Trevor Potter, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and a Republican, told the Times that if Reed was hired to keep him from working for another Republican presidential candidate, “it illustrates what everyone in the Republican world has known for years: Enron has been an important source of political power in the party.”
In a January CNN interview with Judy Woodruff, Reed denied knowledge of Rove’s purported initiative with Enron and disputed the claim that Enron took care of him for Bush. Reed said it was “an untrue story.”
Reed told CNN he did organize “consumers and citizens” to help Enron executives “get their message out.”
The Post reported that Reed’s consulting group, Century Strategies, maintained a relationship with Enron until October 2001. Enron filed for bankruptcy in December, becoming the worst corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Neither Reed nor Shapiro would talk to the Post about the memo.