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Opinion
Editorial: Who do you work for, Senator Burns?


"Sen. Conrad Burns is in the spotlight this week after the Washington Post reported the Montana Republican helped funnel to a wealthy Indian tribe in Michigan $3 million from a federal program intended to help rebuild rundown Indian schools.

Our first question was what's a member of Montana's three-person congressional delegation doing milking $3 million out of the government - that is, taxpayers - for people in Michigan, a state with two senators and 15 congressmen? Can't they do their own heavy lifting?

We're not naive. We know Congress works on a you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours basis. So Burns does his pals from Michigan a favor. Maybe he picks up a few chits he can call in sometime on our behalf.

But we're not naive enough to believe that Abramoff's contributions and his staff-swapping with Burns aren't a factor in this matter. Say what you will about the senator, he certainly knows who's writing $137,000 worth of checks for his political committee - and why. Clients don't pay lobbyists out of charity, and lobbyists don't contribute to politicians out of altruism."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Remember for whom you work, Sen. Burns (The Missoulian 3/4)

Relevant Links:
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe - http://www.sagchip.org
Saginaw Chippewa Voices - http://www.scitmembervoices.com

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Burns looking into Abramoff ties, Dorgan denies link (3/2)
Burns, Dorgan backed $3M grant for Abramoff client (3/1)
Tribal lobbying scandal hurts ex-Abramoff firm (02/17)
Sag Chip recall targets anti-Abramoff tribal leaders (02/11)
High-priced lobbyist scam linked to lawmakers (11/18)
Documents detail lobbyists' role in tribal elections (10/04)
More hearings slated in tribal lobbyist scandal (09/30)
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Saginaw Chippewa leader who paid lobbyists ousted (06/04)
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Saginaw Chippewa Tribe wonders where $14M went (04/20)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe hires new lobbying firm (03/09)
GOP lobbyist scores big with tribes (04/03)
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