Last week, news broke that Ralph Reed, former Christian Coalition director and crony of Jack Abramoff, would be helping to raise money for Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) fundraiser in Atlanta. Reed “touted himself as a member of McCain’s ‘Victory 2008 Team’ in an e-mail that solicited donations on McCain’s behalf,” and public watchdog organizations called on McCain to denounce Reed. The Wall Street Journal now reports that Reed was a no-show at tonight’s Atlanta fundraiser:
On Monday evening, there was no sign of Reed at the Marriott Marquis here and no mention of him by McCain during his remarks. A campaign spokesperson confirmed that Reed would not be in attendance but declined to say whether the campaign had asked him to keep his distance.
The McCain campaign has insisted that Reed “sent the messages on his own and was not coordinating with the campaign,” but Reed told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that “he sent the e-mail at the request of the campaign and was given boilerplate language to use.” As Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has pointed out, when McCain led a Senate investigation into the Abramoff scandal, he failed to call Reed to testify.