Statement of County Attorney David Escamilla re: Ralph Reed
|For Immediate Release:|
For More Information Contact:
|March 27, 2006|
Craig McDonald, 512-472-9770
Austin, TX: Travis County Attorney David Escamilla announced today that his office has concluded its review of allegations presented to date concerning Ralph Reed and possible violations of Texas’ Lobby Registration laws, citing Texas’ two-year statute of limitations for misdemeanor violations as a bar to proceeding with a formal criminal investigation and possible prosecution.
In December of last year, representatives from three public watchdog organizations - Texans for Public Justice, Common Cause Texas, and Public Citizen - requested the Travis County Attorney’s Office to investigate allegations that Mr. Reed, without first registering as a lobbyist under Texas law, had lobbied members of Texas’ Executive and Legislative branches seeking to close certain casinos, operated by the Tigua Tribe of El Paso and the Alabama Coushatta Tribe in East Texas, on behalf of Jack Abramoff and casinos operated by the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana.
The review was subsequently expanded to include an additional allegation that, in 2002, Mr. Reed had lobbied members of Texas’ State Board of Education on behalf of in-school television network Channel One.
David Escamilla said, “Although new information and revelations regarding Mr. Abramoff and his activities continue to flow as a result of his recent indictment and guilty plea, all information we have received, to date, concerning Mr. Reed’s activity in Texas relate to calendar years 2001 and 2002. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure provides that misdemeanor charges may not be presented beyond two years of the date of commission of the offense.”
Texas law provides an exception to the required registration as a lobbyist “if no more than 5.0% of the person's compensated time during a calendar quarter is time spent engaging in lobby activity.” The information presented by the complainants raise legitimate questions concerning Mr. Reed’s activities and possible violation of Texas law. The process of proving such violations would require a comprehensive criminal investigation delving into the financial arrangement between Mr. Abramoff and Mr. Reed as well as the actual compensation received by Mr. Reed for any time spent communicating with members of Texas’ government. According to Mr. Escamilla, “Without evidence involving lobbying activities within the last two years, I cannot justify initiating a formal criminal investigation given the statute of limitations bar to prosecution of Mr. Reed for any of his activities in 2001 and 2002.”
David Escamilla added, “We will continue to review any new information regarding Mr. Reed’s lobbying activities and move forward to enforce Texas’ lobby registration laws should any violations not barred by the statute of limitations come to our attention.”