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Abramoff Scandal
Griles intervened in Coushatta leadership dispute



Griles Did It (February 13, 2004)
Former Interior deputy secretary J. Steven Griles intervened in a leadership dispute involving one of Jack Abramoff's wealthy tribal clients, Bloomberg News reports.

In February 2004, members of Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana said claimed Lovelin Poncho, an ally of Abramoff, resigned as chairman. Poncho them called Griles, who called Abramoff to talk about the dispute, according to Bloomberg News.

Within a few days, the Bureau of Indian Affairs said Poncho was still the legitimate leader of the tribe. "Griles did it," a lobbyist who worked with Abramoff wrote in a February 13 e-mail.

At a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on November 2, Griles admitted that he spoke to Abramoff about a tribal leadership dispute. He said he may have asked the BIA to do something about it.

Poncho didn't run for re-election in June of this year. A new chairman, who had opposed Abramoff, was elected. Another Abramoff ally failed in his re-election bid.

Get the Story:
Abramoff Sought Bush Officials' Aid in Indian-Tribe Fee Dispute (Bloomberg News 11/29)

November 17, 2005, Hearing:
Video | Documents

November 2, 2005, Hearing:
Video | Exhibits | Senate Witness List / Testimony

Inspector General Report:
J. Steven Griles Investigation (March 2004)

From the Indianz.Com Archive:
Norton stripping BIA of trust duties (November 16, 2001) | Tribal leaders in uproar over proposal (November 16, 2001) | Griles taking lead on trust reform (November 5, 2001)

Indianz.Com Profile:
Deputy Secretary: J. Steven Griles (March 9, 2001)

Relevant Links:
Coushatta Tribe - http://www.coushattatribela.org

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