of El Paso got the worst deal. The Coushattas were most concerned about the casino their East Texas cousins, the Alabama-Coushattas, were opening north of Houston. Houston is a big market for the Coushattas; billboards on 1-45 and I-10 point the direction to the Coushatta casino, resort, and golf course near Lake Charles. The Tigua casino 950 miles away in El Paso was not competing with the Coushattas. But to kill the East Texas casino, the Coushattas had to eliminate all Indian gaming in Texas. They were counting on Texas Attorney General John Cornyn to enforce state law prohibiting all casino gambling. In September 2001 the El Paso casino that had lifted the Tiguas out of poverty was ordered shut down by a federal judge, ruling on a 1999 lawsuit filed by Cornyn. The Tiguas appealed. On the Coushattas’ tab, Abramoff hired Ralph Reed to work against the Tiguas. Reed organized public support for Cornyn’s lawsuit. E-mails released by Senate Indian Affairs establish that Reed, who was paid $4 million by Abramoff to work quietly to kill the casino, was in touch with the director of the criminal division in Cornyn’s office. \(Cornyn has destroyed all his office e-mail correWhile the decision was on appeal, Abramoff moved his fight to the Legislature, where bills were filed to legalize the state’s three Indian casinos if Cornyn prevailed. \(The Kickapoos operated a small casino in Eagle Pass and the Alabama-Coushattas had a small one in Livingston, with big expanHouston to purchase radio ads, paid for phone banks to call state legislators, and used his Christian Coalition contacts to turn out pastors for the Senate Criminal Justice Committee hearing on the bill. Everything was done discreetly. As a prominent evangelical Christian, Ralph Reed couldn’t be seen accepting money derived from gambling, even if he was using it in an anti-gambling campaign. Abramoff claims that Reed persuaded the acting lieutenant governor to kill the casino bill. In a February 2003 “Tigua Talking Points” memo Abramoff wrote: “last year we stopped this bill after it passed the House using END TIMES TAX ACCOUNTING “No. Don’t do that. I don’t want a sniper letterhead.” So wrote Jack Abramoff to his executive assistant at Greenberg Traurig’s Washington, D.C. lobbying office. An Israeli paramilitary organizer to whom Abramoff was sending high-tech military hardware had offered his sniper school letterhead to help comply with IRS requirements. Abramoff had spent $140,000 from his non-profit foundation to buy optics, stands, cases for sniper rifles, and a jeep for Schmuel Ben Zvi’s sniper school in the occupied West Bank. But the IRS allows educational foundation money to be used for educational purposes only, such as the Abramoffs’ Jewish day school in the D.C. suburbs. Ben Zvi, who despite the e-mail trail has since denied he ever knew Abramoff, suggested the Sniper Workshop letterhead and logo to accommodate the IRS. He was, after all, involved in education. He ran a sniper school in the ultra-orthodox settlement of Beitar Illit. Keeping accounts straight was a frequent problem for Abramoff. His tax accountant warned, “military expenses don’t look good on the Foundation’s books.” It was also odd that money donated by the Mississippi Choctaw and the Saginaw Chipewas ended up training snipers in an Israeli settlement. But Abramoff was more concerned about moving hardware than cooking books. He was delighted when Ben Zvi wrote that they would expedite shipment by obtaining a signed letter from a paratroop brigade commander in the Israeli Defense Force. With the letter in hand, they could buy weapons from Raytheon and FLIR, and “end user” clearance from the U.S. State Department would be easier to obtain. The “end user” wasn’t the Israeli Army. But Ben Zvi assured Abramoff he was still getting a bang for his buck. “The army for the most part creates soldiers, not WARRIORS,” Ben Zvi wrote. He talked of a fifth column of Jewish warriors that will someday issue its own “call to arms.” He also regaled Abramoff with accounts of sniper positions his group set up to cover IDF soldiers as they worked, “neutraliz ing” terrorists, and watching “the dirty little rats” on the Palestinian side of the fence. Another e-mail from Ben Zvi suggests how the attack on the World Trade Center inflamed the radical settlers’ already overheated eschatology: `And parchas Balak in the Zohar says that before Moshiach comes three towers will burn in the gate of Rome I freaked out when I saw how the schematic drawing in Newsweek referred to is referred to as the ‘third tower.'” Like American End Times Christians who believe the 9/11 attack is an augur of the second coming of Christ, Abramoff’s End Times Israeli Jews believe the 9/11 attack anticipates the coming of the Messiah. Abramoff’s CPA was so moved by accounts of sniper patrols in Beitar Illit that she decided they would somehow make the accounting work to satisfy the IRS. As always, Abramoff was ready to move: “Oh boy!” he writes to Ben Zvi. “Get me the letter from the army! Good Shabbos.” LD 6 THE TEXAS OBSERVER AUGUST 26, 2005
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The Texas Rangers are tasked with investigating corruption and crimes by public officials. Those officials are rarely held accountable.