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Abramoff Scandal
Mississippi Choctaws gave $250K to 'Family' group


The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians gave $250,000 to a questionable organization linked to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and embattled Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), The Washington Post reports.

The tribe gave $150,000 to the U.S. Family Network at the same time DeLay, his wife and his former chief of staff visited the Choctaw Reservation in July-August 1998. In 1999, the tribe gave an additional $100,000 to the group.

A lawyer for the tribe said the donations were made because the U.S. Family Network was supposed to be a grass-roots conservative group. "This was a group connected to the right-wing Christian movement," attorney C. Bryant Rogers told The Post.

Rogers said the tribe wanted to "get the message out" about legislative proposals to tax Indian gaming revenues and to strip tribes of control over Indian Child Welfare Act cases. But at the same time, the U.S. Family Network sent letters on its stationery to oppose the expansion of gaming in Alabama -- where the Poarch Band of Creek Indians is based.

"The American family is under attack from all sides: crime, drugs, pornography, and one of the least talked about but equally as destructive -- gambling," the letter -- written by then-Rep. Bob Riley (R), now the Alabama governor -- stated. "We need your help today . . . to prevent the Poarch Creek Indians from building casinos in Alabama."

Rogers claimed no knowledge of the letter and the Choctaws have refused to state publicly their involvement in campaigns against other tribes.. Riley is now balking at negotiating a Class III compact with the Poarch Band.

Get the Story:
The DeLay-Abramoff Money Trail (The Washington Post 12/31)
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DeLay Rep Says Boss Not Swayed by Donors (AP 12/31)

Relevant Links:
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians - http://www.choctaw.org

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