The Senate Indian affairs committee is planning to release new e-mails and documents that could cause discomfort in GOP circles. The panel obtained the papers as part of its probe into onetime Washington superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is accused of defrauding his Indian tribal clients. Some documents to be aired at a hearing this week involve GOP activists Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed, two longtime Abramoff pals with close ties to the White House. Norquist's nonprofit Americans for Tax Reform got $1.1 million in 1999 from one of Abramoff's top clients, the Choctaw Indians, who run casinos in Mississippi. Norquist, at the urging of Abramoff and Reed, then sent the money to religious conservative groups fighting pro-gaming efforts in Alabama. (The Choctaws saw the Alabama proposals as a competitive threat.) The deal helped both Abramoff's gambling client and Reed, a public opponent of gambling whose consulting firm was hired by the conservative groups to run the Alabama anti-gambling campaign. But Reed's clients now say they didn't know their funds originated with an Indian gambling tribe. "We received assurances [from Reed] these were not gambling funds," says John Giles, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, which got $850,000 from Norquist's group and paid it to Reed's firm. He's launched an internal probe. Lisa Baron, a Reed spokeswoman, says he knew the money from Norquist's group came from an Abramoff Indian client, but "he did not know the specific client or the specific interest." Reed believes the money came from the Choctaws' nongambling business, she says. Spokesmen for Abramoff and Norquist declined to comment.
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