Abramoff Scandal
Meskwaki faction paid $1.2M to Abramoff's firm

A faction of the Meskwaki Tribe of Iowa that was eventually recognized as the legitimate leadership paid $1.2 million to Jack Abramoff's former lobbying firm.

The Homer Bear Jr. faction hired Greenberg Traurig and worked mainly with lobbyist Michael Smith, who was forced to leave after an internal investigation. According to lobbying records, Smith and his associates worked on the tribe's "casino closure."

The casino had been shut down by the National Indian Gaming Commission because two groups claimed control of the tribe. After a new election and a lobbying campaign, Bear was recognized as the chairman by former acting assistant secretary Aurene Martin.

Abramoff is not listed on any of the lobbying documents and members of Iowa's congressional delegation say their actions on behalf of the Bear faction had nothing to do with the lobbying effort. The Meskwakis gave to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa) and Rep. Jim Nussle (R-Iowa).

The tribe then dropped Greenberg Traurig after the Abramoff scandal broke and hired Cornerstone Government Affairs. Smith took a job with the new firm last June and the tribe promptly hired Smith.

According to Senate records, the "SAC AND FOX TRIBE OF THE MISSISSIPPI IN IOWA" paid Smith and his colleagues at Cornerstone $80,000 from January 1-June 30, 2005 [Mid-Year Report].

In 2003, the "SAC FOX NATION MESKWAKI TRIBE" paid Smith and his colleagues at Greenberg Traurig $140,000 from January 1-June 30 [Mid-Year Report] and $300,000 from July 1-December 31 [Year-End Report].

In 2004, the "SAC FOX NATION MESKWAKI TRIBE" paid Smith and Greenberg Traurig $340,000 from January 1-June 30 [Mid-Year Report] and $420,000 from July 1-December 31 [Year-End Termination].

All figures are rounded to the nearest $20,000.

Get the Story:
Abramoff money went to Iowans (The Des Moines Register 1/16)

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