10.7.05
POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS
Lobbying, Investigations, Corruption
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(More on political contributions coming soon)

DC - But tribes, enriched by casino profits, are among the nation's fastest-growing contributors, pumping more than $7 million into federal campaigns in last year's (2004) elections. They've also bolstered their lobbying teams. Like other groups, they're trying to build influence to protect their gains -- including the right to operate gambling centers -- and to expand into untapped territory. Campaign finance law gives tribes unique status among political contributors. Unlike companies, tribes can donate directly to candidates.
Tribes buy into political process/oregonlive.com/By Jeff #/5.9.05

American Indian tribes, now flush with tremendous casino wealth, may be the most intriguing new political force in America today. Last year, the nation's more than 400 Indian gaming casinos generated more than $18 billion dollars in revenue -- a staggering amount that is more than the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball generate in one year combined. Today, Democratic and Republican strategists regularly identify American Indian tribes as a top fund-raising source for aspiring and incumbent congressmen and senators.
Betting on American Indians, Indian tribes, flush with casino wealth, gain political clout/cnn.com/5.3.05

DC - But, as this Smith (deputy secretary of the Bureau of Indian Affairs) saga will make clear, BIA remained a bureaucratic land where the only chiefs are buttoned-down lobbyists, raking in millions from tribes whose casinos are virtually franchises to print influence-peddling largesse.
Smith felt uneasy when his office was lobbied on behalf of two tribes by Diane Allbaugh, the wife of Joe Allbaugh, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the 2000 national campaign manager for Bush. Diane Allbaugh, who worked at a firm headed by former Republican National Committee chair Haley Barbour, appeared on behalf of a Louisiana casino developer under contract with the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians and the Paucatuck Eastern Pequots, a Connecticut tribe then tied to Donald Trump. The Washington Post would later do stories about the awesome influence of Jack Abramoff and Mike Scanlon, who combined to drain $45 million in reported lobbying fees from four tribes in the first three Bush years, prompting an ongoing investigation by Senator John McCain. Abramoff's top political allies were House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed.
A labyrinth of lobbyists is manufacturing millions inside Bush’s Indian Bureau/Village Voice/By Wayne Barrett and Jennifer Suh/4.27.04

DC - Abramoff has been an architect of the power cartel behind DeLay, feeding the Congressman money siphoned from the multi-billion-dollar empire of Indian gambling casinos. . .Abramoff made tens of millions as America's biggest lobbyist for Indian gambling casinos, funding DeLay's PACs. DeLay exulted: DeLay put through a bill in June 2000, giving land to Abramoff's Choctaw tribe in connection with casino gambling. Abramoff and Norquist passed along to Ralph Reed monies drained from tribal treasuries. Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA), a corporate lobbying/influence front group set up in 1998 by Grover Norquist. CREA has reportedly received some $250,000 in contributions from Abramoff's Indian tribes. Chairing the Interior Appropriation Subcommittee, Senator Burns rammed through a $3 million grant for the casino-owning Saginaw Chipewas, Abramoff's clients, from Federal education funds earmarked for poor tribes.
Abramhoff Indictment Makes Bush Regime a Fat Target/Executive Intelligence Review/8.26.05

DC - An interagency criminal task force investigating former lobbyist Jack Abramoff has subpoenaed a Republican group founded by Interior Secretary Gale Norton and now run by her former aides...The government's scrutiny of CREA is the latest example of the widening investigations into Abramoff, his associate Michael Scanlon and their dealings with Indian tribes.
CREA was one of several groups that received contributions from tribes represented by Abramoff. The Coushatta tribe of Louisiana gave $50,000 in 2001 and $100,000 in 2002, according to published reports. The Texas Tigua gave $25,000 in 2002.
DOJ Subpoenas GOP Group/The Hill/ By Josephine Hearn/ 3.1.05

A Western-state Democratic leader is demanding an investigation into how the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe got a $3 million federal education grant from a program originally intended to benefit only poor Tribes. Bob Ream, the chairman of the Montana Democratic Party, formally requested a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into how former Saginaw Chippewa lobbyist Jack Abramoff might have improperly influenced Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., the chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Saginaw Chippewas paid Abramoff's former law firm $3.6 million for lobbying in 2002 and 2003.
Senate asked to investigate Tribe’s grant/themorningsun.com/By Mark Ranzenberger/3.5.05

AL - Ralph Reed, former executive director of the national Christian Coalition and currently chairman of the Bush re-election committee in the Southeast, may have let the cat out of the bag. In an interview with the Montgomery Advertiser, Reed acknowledged that he had taken money from Indian gambling interests and used it to defeat gambling legislation in Alabama and other states. Does it matter whether the casino money went straight from Reed to the Alabama group or was laundered through Reed in a "services rendered" arrangement? Most folks would feel it amounts to the same thing.
Christian Coalition, Open up those books/annistonwstar.com/Editorials/9.7.04

WI - ...questions are being asked about top officials in the Clinton White House, the money-grubbing Democratic National Committee and a process that killed a deal to bring tribal-operated, casino-style gambling to an ailing dog track in Hudson, Wis. And how is it that nearly $300,000 in contributions from tribes that allegedly feared their own gaming operations would be harmed by the Hudson casino showed up in accounts of the DNC and related groups?
Killing of casino needs probe/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/9.19.97

WI - Among those donating $2,000 to Bush was Dennis Troha, a casino developer who has been involved in an effort to turn a Kenosha County dog track into an American Indian casino. The project would need federal and state approval.
Presidential Money/the Star Tribune - AP/ 2.6.04

WI - "I suppose we could either be totally feared or totally liked," continued Dana (Penobscot Chief), wondering aloud how Maine's political establishment would respond to a newly economically advantaged tribe with the potential to fill campaign coffers of state and federal decision makers and to hire the state's most influential lobbyists and attorneys. Last year, the tribe, which operates three casinos in central Wisconsin, gave more than $514,000 to federal candidates and political action committees, placing the Ho-Chunk among the nation's top three tribal "soft money" contributors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics,... Democrat Jim Doyle supported and later signed the long-term compacts, after prevailing in the election. But not without the tribe's indirect help. Within days of the tribe's hefty donation to the DNC, the committee sent about $1 million back to its state committee to help Democratic candidates including Doyle. "It took a lot of planning and a lot of dollars to make it happen," Thundercloud said of the effort to defeat a Republican initiative that would have essentially voided the long-term deal signed by Doyle with the Indians by giving the Legislature oversight of any such "perpetual" gaming compacts. "What [tribes around the country are] doing is buying and selling politicians," said Elaine Willman, chairwoman of Citizens Equal Rights Alliance...
Casino could boost tribe's political clout/bangornews.com/By Jeff tuttle/9.13.03

WI - The campaign manager for then-Gov. Scott McCallum says the Ho-Chunk dangled a $500,000 contribution for whichever gubernatorial candidate agreed to allow the tribe to run its casinos for as long as the wind blows and the grass grows.
Ho-Chunk dangled $500,000 donation, McCallum aide says/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/2.22.03

WI - After 10 days as a security officer at Ho-Chunk Casino in Lake Delton, Lon Jury was laid off Friday, along with 56 other Ho-Chunk employees. The layoffs come as the Ho-Chunk Nation is expected to spend more than $1 million to win votes in Tuesday's referendum to expand gambling at Madison's DeJope Bingo Hall.
Casino cuts come during campaign/baraboo.scwn.com/By Lesley Rogers Barrett/2.11.04

WI - Kenosha power brokers Dennis Troha and Joe Madrigrano Jr., the driving forces behind the (Indian) casino idea, steered at least $160,000 to Jim Doyle's camp - most of it delivered in the 11th hour of the tightly contested gubernatorial campaign ...three casino-rich tribes kicked more than 700-grand into national Democratic coffers to help out Doyle. On Monday, Doyle officials announced a deal with the Potawatomi that would give the northern Wisconsin tribe a casino monopoly for a 50-mile radius from its Menomonee Valley gambling hall - ...Doyle's people, of course, say the $200,000 in soft money given by the tribe on Oct. 29 didn't cross their minds when they were cutting this sweetheart deal that lasts forevermore.
$160,000 gamble, but still no casino/Milwaukee Sentinel Journal/2.25.03

WA - Tribal groups in Washington state have tried to shape gambling laws through political contributions since the mid-1990s. Tribal groups donated about $1 million to support Initiative 651 in 1995... Tribes for Responsible Gaming spent some $2 million on the (I-671) campaign...
Last year, tribal organizations contributed about $130,000 to candidates for state and legislative office . . .
Tribes stay involved in state politics/The Spokesman-Review.com/3.18.01

WA - In 1992, tribes gave about $80,000 to state lawmakers, up from almost zero two years earlier. By 2002, they nearly doubled what they gave a decade earlier -- more than $142,000, state campaign records show. The majority went to Democratic candidates. And that wasn't all: The tribes spent more than $700,000 last year on lobbying, mainly on contested gaming and environmental legislation.
Tribes becoming political players with casino cash/Seattle Times/ By Emily Heffter/11.17.03

WA - The state's tribes so far have spent more than $5 million to defeat Initiative 892, the electronic-slot machine initiative, bankrolling TV ads depicting an ominous effort by nontribal gambling interests to put slots in every neighborhood. What isn't mentioned is the tribes' lucrative monopoly on slot machines . . .
Neither side conveys whole story on slots/Seattle Times/By Lynda V. Mapes/10.13.04

WA - Lobbyists spent nearly $10 million on political activities during the Legislature's 60-day session, newly filed reports from the state's campaign-finance agency show. Big spending also was reported by tribal governments concerned about such things as tax breaks for tribal owned land and an expansion of gambling by card rooms outside Indian country.
Malpractice top issue for lobbyists/The Olympian/By Brad Shannon/4.25.04

DC - To top it off, two of Mr. DeLay's closest personal and political associates, Jack Abramoff and Mike Scanlon, are at the center of a federal investigation into the possible improper acquisition of some $66 million from several Indian tribes that operate gambling casinos. Mr. Reed, at one time a staunch opponent of gambling, has reportedly received $4.2 million of the Indian casino money, albeit laundered by Abramoff and Scanlon so that he can continue to maintain that "we have never represented or worked for a casino company". In addition to the fact that Scanlon was an ex-press aide to Riley, it seems that Riley's opponent in the race, the incumbent Don Siegelman, was intent on opening up Alabama to casino gambling. Since the Alabama border is only about an hour by car from the Mississippi Choctaw tribe's casino, this possibility posed a threat to the Choctaws' casino revenues, from which Scanlon was benefiting. There is evidence that the Mississippi Choctaw Indian Tribe contributed $6,000 directly to DeLay's TRMPAC, at the suggestion of Abramoff. Another $18,000 went from the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan to DeLay's ARMPAC...Governor Haley Barbour is also reported to have received $35,000 from the Mississippi Choctaw Tribe in 2003. Final result: Indian casino money has helped to elect two governors, and is contributing to the attempted re-election of President George W. Bush. "After Abramoff became their lobbyist, three tribes -- the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana -- contributed more than $2.02 million to the Capitol Athletic Foundation,..." "Saginaw Chippewa officials have told federal investigators that they made the donations because Abramoff told them it would impress DeLay... "The tribe donated ...$25,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee the following year, ... ...$6,000 reportedly contributed by the Mississippi Choctaw Indian tribe to DeLay's Texas PAC, TRMPAC...
$18,000 was sent from the Sagniaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan to DeLay's leadership PAC, ARMPAC (Americans for a Republican Majority PAC).
The Bush-DeLay-Indian Casinos Campaign Money Laundering Operation/OpEdNews.com/By Laurence A. toenjes/10.15.04

RI - On Feb. 4, the Narragansetts won approval from the West Warwick town council for a casino and until recently its financial backer, Harrah's Entertainment, had been paying the local government $25,000 quarterly for impact studies. Harrah's suspended the payments in June, citing the lack of movement in the legislature on the statewide referendum.
Feds indict Rhode Island dog racers, plot to stop casino thwarted/Indian Country Today/9.12.03

RI - Lawyers at Holland & Knight -- the Providence law firm promoting the proposed West Warwick casino for the Narragansett Indian tribe and Harrah's Entertainment -- gave lawmakers more than $2,900 through their PAC.
Harwood remains a big spender among legislators/The Providence Journal/8.25.03

RI - WASHINGTON -- The Narragansett Indian Tribe's political champion, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, is also a champion recipient of campaign contributions from the gambling industry, including some linked to the Rhode Island tribe. The survey said Kennedy has received $24,000 in gambling-related contributions. Capital Gaming has spent more than $8 million in pursuit of its gambling facility for the tribe, according to the Phoenix-based promoter's filings with various state and federal agencies. Capital Gaming paid another prominent Washington firm, O'Connor & Hannan, $270,000 to fight the Chafee amendment, among other Indian gambling lobbying services last year. The tribe itself paid $40,000 for lobbying last year . . .
Investors willing to gamble millions on casinos/The Providence Journal/8.9.98

CA - California Common Cause filed a complaint Monday alleging more than 300 campaign finance law violations by gambling interests, primarily Indian tribes, and candidates who received their largess between 1995 and 1998. But tribes had the largest number of violations: 75, amounting to $679,000. The $15.8 million in contributions to candidates were in addition to the nearly $100 million spent by tribes and Nevada interests on the most costly initiative in the nation's history, Proposition 5, to legalize gambling on reservations. The tribes and Davis responded by negotiating a gambling compact that was ratified by voters in March, making casinos on reservations legal and giving Indians the exclusive right to operate Nevada-style casinos in California. Three Indian tribes--the Morongo, the Agua Caliente and the San Manuel bands--donated more than $1 million between 1995 and 1998.
Group Alleges Tribes Broke Campaign Law/Los Angeles Times/By Dan Morain/6.6.00

California's gaming tribes have become big political players, giving more than $135 million to candidates and ballot measures over the past six years. Agua Caliente failed to report by required deadlines more than $7.5 million that it gave to initiatives and candidates in 1998, according to the state. The tribe also allegedly failed to report a six-figure contribution to Proposition 51...
Split court says tribes must abide by campaign disclosure laws/Copley News Service/3.4.04

CO - Two leaders of Wembley, the British company pursuing voter approval to install video-gaming machines at Colorado racetracks, were indicted Tuesday in Rhode Island for allegedly offering bribes to a state legislator. The indictment alleges that in 2000 and 2001 Wembley's Nigel Potter and Lincoln Park's Daniel Bucci conspired to offer McKinnon & Harwood, a Pawtucket, R.I., law firm, six years of illegal payments totaling $4.5 million. The payments were offered in exchange for state Rep. John Harwood's support in swaying the state lottery commission to approve 1,000 video-lottery terminals and his help in quelling legislation proposing a new Indian casino.
Video-lottery firm's execs are indicted/Denver Post/By JasonBlevins/9.10.03

NY - UTICA - Howard, a resident of Holland Patent, has asked state Attorney General Spitzer and the state Ethics Commission to investigate what he calls questionable campaign contributions made from the Oneida Indian Nation to Assemblywoman RoAnn Destito, D-Rome. Howard said Destito, who is the chairwoman of the Governmental Operations Committee, a committee with direct impact on Indian affairs, has used "her influence to withhold" an assembly bill that would protect land owners from Indian land claims and another bill that would prohibit gaming compacts with tribes having pending land claims. "I am calling on you to investigate the legality of Assemblywoman Destito's relationship regarding the ability of her family's restaurant, ... to sell alcohol at the Turning Stone Casino, the thousands of Oneida Nation dollars flowing into her campaign, and her influence upon Indian affairs bills as Chairwoman of the Governmental Operations Committee," Howard said . . .
Destito accused of influence peddling/Oneida Daily Dispatch/By Mike Bilodeau/9.19.01