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Politics
Meskwakis gave $50K to group founded by Norton


A faction of the Meskwaki Tribe of Iowa that was eventually recognized as the legitimate leadership of the tribe gave $50,000 to a group founded by Interior Secretary Gale Norton, Raw Story reports.

The donation to the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy came as Interior was considering who controlled the tribe and the tribal casino. The Bureau of Indian Affairs eventually recognized an election that put Homer Bear Jr. and his allies into power.

During the dispute, Bear's faction had retained disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his firm Greenberg Traurig. It was Abramoff who insisted the donation be made to CREA because the group is "extremely close" to Secretary Gale Norton, a spokesperson for Bear said.

CREA's president is Italia Federici, a close associate of Norton's. According to The Washington Post, she lobbied Interior on behalf of Abramoff's tribal clients and often had a direct line to former deputy secretary J. Steven Griles.

Nearly every one of Abramoff's major clients ended up giving money to CREA. The Saginaw Chippewa Tribe of Michigan gave $75,000, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana gave $150,000 and the Tigua Tribe of Texas gave $25,000. The Meskwaki donation puts the total at $300,000.

Get the Story:
Tribal dispute raises new questions of Abramoff; Donations to senator scrutinized (Raw Story 4/21)

Relevant Links:
Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy - http://www.crea-online.org/crea

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