Saturday, August 27, 2005

Tribes paid, but for what?

Kansas City Star | 08/27/2005 | Tribes paid, but for what?: "The Tiguas of Texas had just lost their casino and were told that if they wanted to see profits again to start throwing money around Capitol Hill.

They were told exactly where to aim it.

The Coushattas of Louisiana, the Choctaws of Mississippi and other tribes with gambling operations also wrote big and bigger checks.

Between 1999 and 2004, nearly $1 million went to the campaigns of lawmakers from House Speaker Dennis Hastert, an Illinois Republican, to then-Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, a Missouri Democrat.

Sen. Conrad Burns, a Montana Republican and a subcommittee chairman with huge sway over Indian affairs, got the most, nearly $140,000.

Even Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican and a champion of family values, received $42,000.

The maestro behind this orchestration of cash was Jack Abramoff, a lawyer-lobbyist whose influence — based largely on his friendship with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican — was rivaled by few, until its collapse last year.

It turns out that the Indian money sent to campaign coffers was dwarfed by the dollars that stayed in the pockets of Abramoff and business partner Michael Scanlon, who headed a public relations firm."


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