Thanks to Indian gaming, tribes have emerged as major players in Washington, D.C. In the past two election cycles alone, tribes poured $13.8 million into Republican and Democrat interests, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But this figure doesn't include the money tribes and tribal organizations spend to lobby Congress and the executive branch. So to find out more about this area, Indianz.Com is taking a look at who's spending Indian money in Washington, who's getting it and what they're spending it on. Today we're looking at a law firm with one of the most prominent Indian law practices. Who's Getting?
The law and lobbying firm of Holland & Knight (http://www.hklaw.com) boasts some pretty
heavy hitters: Holly Cook, former White House and Democratic party aide; Teresa Poust, former National Indian Gaming Commissioner; Gerry Sikorski, former U.S. Congressman; and recent hire Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado), the former U.S. Senator.
As such, the firm is one of the top recipients of Indian cash. In 2004 alone, the lobbyists reported upwards of $1.3 million in lobbying costs on behalf of tribal governments, tribal colleges and
The firm's clients are a diverse group representing all parts of Indian Country. There are number of wealthy gaming tribes on the roster, including the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians of California, which spent about $240,000 on the firm in 2004
Year-End]; the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
from Minnesota, which spent about $160,000
the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
which spent about $40,000 in 2004
There are resource-rich tribes like the Jicarilla Apache Nation
of New Mexico, which spent $300,000 on the firm last year, the largest
and the Eastern Shoshone Tribe of Wyoming,
which spent $140,000
Other tribes that spent large amounts include the Tohono O'odham
Nation of Arizona, which spent $200,000 in 2004
Tribes of Duck Valley in Nevada, which spent $160,000
and the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe from Minnesota, which spent $80,000
Finally, there are a host of other tribes in the lower 48 and Alaska who hired the firm but spent less than $20,000 in lobbying expenditures over the course of 2004. These included the Tlingit-Haida Tribes of Alaska, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe of Nevada, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux
Tribe and the Ione Band of Miwok Indians of California.
All of these figures are rounded to the nearest $20,000, so the actual amount may be more or less than what was disclosed.
What Are They Spending On?
Holland & Knight's Indian law practice is dedicated to a wide range of tribal issues. Whether it's appropriations, law enforcement, energy, education or homeland security, the firm is lobbying before the House, the Senate, the White House and numerous federal agencies.
As one example, the Lower Lake Rancheria-Koi Nation of California hired the firm to lobby the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Department of the Interior regarding the "issuance of the list of federally recognized Indian tribes." The tribe was placed on the list by former assistant secretary Kevin Gover shortly before he left office in January 2001.
The tribe has hired, among other Holland & Knight lobbyists, former principal deputy assistant secretary Aurene Martin to lobby on the issue. The tribe spent about $20,000 in the
first half of 2004 and less than $10,000 in the second half
on the firm, which has been retained as far back as 2001
to work on federal recognition.
For More Information
To find out more about tribal lobbying in
Washington, visit the U.S. Senate Office of Public Records (http://sopr.senate.gov). The
office maintains the most recent information for lobbying expenditures reported
to the Senate. Information for this story was obtained by entering "HOLLAND & KNIGHT"
as the registrant name in the database.
Other lobbying information can be found at the U.S. House of
Representaties, Office of the Clerk (http://clerk.house.gov/pd).
Senate Office of Public Records - http://sopr.senate.gov
202 630 8439 (THEZ)
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