National Review’s short memory

NATIONAL REVIEW’S SHORT MEMORY…. It’s been about a month since a Texas jury convicted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) on money laundering charges. That hasn’t stopped DeLay’s allies, though, from trying to salvage the disgraced politician’s reputation.

Yesterday, for example, National Review ran its latest item defending DeLay on the felony counts he’s already been convicted of. (via Right Wing Watch) The defense is fairly predictable — the piece goes after the prosecutor, blasts campaign-finance laws, parses the meaning of “money laundering,” and concludes, “Tom Delay’s [sic] only crime was helping to elect Republicans to office.”

But far more interesting than the banal piece is its author. National Review didn’t just run a defense of Tom DeLay’s money laundering; it ran a defense written by disgraced right-wing activist Ralph Reed — who was credibly accused of money laundering.

The lack of self-awareness here is astonishing. If only National Review‘s editors had thought to Google “Ralph Reed” and “money laundering,” they could have saved themselves some embarrassment.

It has been long-established that Abramoff’s casino-owning tribal clients hired Reed to whip up religious anti-gambling fervor and use it to squash any neighboring competition. In order to obscure the fact that Abramoff’s casino money was funding Reed’s anti-gambling campaigns, the money was funneled through various entities (shell companies and non-profits) before making its way to Reed. […]

McCain’s Senate investigation found that the funneling had been Reed’s idea, because that is what the tribal representatives told investigators.

As Nell Rogers from the Mississippi Choctaw told the Committee: “Ralph Reed did not want to be paid directly by a tribe with gaming interests. It was our understanding that the structure was recommended by Jack Abramoff to accommodate Mr. Reed’s political concerns.”

And Former Louisiana Coushatta Vice-Chairman William Worfel told investigators that Abramoff “asked whether the Tribe had any business through which payments to Reed could be made.”

All other available evidence shows that Reed and Abramoff came up with the funneling idea to protect Reed’s Christian bona fides — which is, after all, the only narrative that makes any sense.

In other words, National Review‘s editors thought it made sense to publish a piece from a money launderer defending a money launderer against money-laundering charges.

It apparently never occurred to anyone at the conservative magazine that this might look ridiculous.