Ralph Reed is in the clear in Travis County because the statute of limitations has run out. He had been under investigation by County Attorney David Escamilla that he had violated Texas law by not registering as a lobbyist.
Mr. Escamilla said the two-year statute of limitations had run out on the issues raised against Mr. Reed, but he added that the county attorney's office would continue to review information that might become available.
The case stemmed from Mr. Reed having received $4.2 million in 2001 and 2002 from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to memos and e-mails that surfaced during a Senate investigation. Subsequently, Mr. Abramoff has pleaded guilty to tax fraud and conspiracy.
Mr. Reed apparently was paid for contacting public officials in the attorney general's and governor's offices and urging them to close Indian casinos in Texas. Mr. Abramoff was representing Louisiana tribes that did not want the Texas competition.
Mr. Reed also contacted State Board of Education members in 2002 on behalf of in-school TV network Channel One.
In December 2005, three public-interest groups – Common Cause, Public Citizen and Texans for Public Justice – filed a complaint with the county attorney against Mr. Reed, saying that Mr. Reed was a high-paid lobbyist but one who never registered with the Texas Ethics Commission – a possible Class A misdemeanor.
"The information presented by the complainants raises legitimate questions concerning Mr. Reed's activities and possible violation of Texas law," Mr. Escamilla said.
But without evidence of lobbying activity within the last two years, "I cannot justify initiating a formal criminal investigation given the statute of limitations," he said.