Jodi Rave: McCain cozies up to Abramoff associate
"Native leaders criticized Sen. John McCain on Monday for getting “cozy” with a close associate of convicted felon Jack Abramoff, who defrauded tribes of tens of millions of dollars in a Capitol Hill lobbying scandal.

“I think a lot of people in Indian Country, with increased frequency over the last couple of years, have asked, ‘Who is this John McCain?' It's not the same guy we thought we knew,” Jonathan Windy Boy of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe on the Rocky Boy's Reservation in Montana said in a statement. “Abramoff hurt all of Indian Country and because of the scandal, we were often locked out of the political process since. It doesn't make sense to me that you can claim to be for tribes and associate yourself with those who defrauded us.”

But the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's staff said they knew nothing of the event.

Ralph Reed, former executive director of the Christian Coalition, recently sent out a mass e-mail to possibly “tens of thousands” of “friends” inviting them to attend a fundraiser Monday on behalf of McCain in Atlanta, said Tom Steward, a regional McCain campaign spokesman in Minneapolis, Minn.

“No one was more surprised than us to see Reed's e-mail,” said Steward. “He's not part of our campaign. He's not a host of the fundraiser and is not attending. To the best of our knowledge, he has not donated. John McCain's role and record in cleaning up Washington and investigating Abramoff is clear.”

Still, a spokesman for presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama said McCain isn't providing some much-needed “straight talk.”"

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Native leaders: McCain cozying up to Abramoff associate (The Missoulian 8/19)

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