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Politics
Tigua Tribe tells of lobbying horror story


The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held its second hearing on Wednesday into the lobbying activities of two Washington insiders accused of bilking tribes of $66 million.

The hearing focused on the Tigua Tribe of Texas. After being approached by lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the tribe paid public relations consultant Michael Scanlon $4.2 million to conduct a nationwide political campaign. The goal was to reopen the tribe's casino, which was the subject of legal battles in Texas.

The campaign didn't work. Tribal representatives said they were told Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut) went back on a promise to insert a rider into an elections reform bill that would allow gaming. Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), who was to help get the bill passed, expressed outrage in a conference call with tribal leaders after the effort failed.

What the tribe didn't know at the time was that Abramoff and Scanlon worked with Christian activist Ralph Reed to promote the closure of the tribe's casino. Reed was paid at least $4.1 million, according to news reports.

The tribe also didn't know Dodd was apparently unaware about the entire plan. Ney now claims he was duped by Abramoff and Scanlon too.

In addition to the $4.1 million for Scanlon's company, the tribe made more than $300,000 in political contributions suggested by Abramoff. Of that amount, $25,000 went to Ney and the rest to political action committees.

Abramoff didn't take any money directly from the tribe because he said he was working on a pro-bono basis. Once the casino reopened, he expected the tribe to hire him to help negotiate a Class III casino compact.

Scanlon appeared at the hearing but did not testify, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Get the Story:
Papers Show Tribe Paid to Try to Sway Bill (The Washington Post 11/18)
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Tribe tells of questionable practices by lobbyist (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 11/18)
Campbell berates tribal adviser (The Denver Rocky Mountain News 11/18)
Dodd Denies Role In Casino (The Hartford Courant 11/18)
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Lobbyists Questioned in Indian Casino Hearing (National Public Radio 11/18)
Ney denies role in ripping off Indian tribes (Gannett News Service 11/18)

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