Law | National | Politics

Alcohol industry spends big despite Whiteclay problems

The liquor industry has donated more than $120,000 to politicians in Nebraska over the last five years, with a good portion going to lawmakers who have refused to pass bills affecting liquor sales in Whiteclay.

Whiteclay sits a few hundred yards from the border of the Pine Ridge Reservation. Four liquor stores there sell millions of cans of beer every year, mostly to members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Sen. LeRoy Louden has repeatedly introduced bills, including LB829, to address law enforcement and other issues in Whiteclay. But his proposals haven't gone anywhere thanks to the General Affairs Committee, whose members have received more than $21,000 during the past five years from the liquor industry, The New York Times reports.

“They’ve got a pretty good hold on the committee,” Louden told the Times. “They make sure they like the people who sit on the committee.”

LB829 authorizes the creation of "alcohol impact zones." The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission would be able to place restrictions on the sale of liquor in these areas.

Similar laws in other states have helped resolve problems, officials said. But the liquor industry opposes the Nebraska bill.

Get the Story:
Indian Beer Bill Stalls; Industry Money Flows (The New York Times 4/12)

Related Stories:
Kevin Abourezk: Oglala Sioux Tribe amends Whiteclay lawsuit (4/4)
SDPR: Oglala Sioux Tribe sues over liquor sales in Whiteclay (4/2)
Five from Pine Ridge Reservation face bootlegging charges (03/16)
Liquor from Whiteclay invades every aspect of reservation life (3/6)
Letter: Oglala Sioux Tribe should consider a 'wet' reservation (3/5)
Stephanie Woodard: Whiteclay Liquor -- Gold mines in hell (2/22)
Letter: Alcohol sales at Whiteclay nothing short of 'genocide' (2/16)
Lawmakers consider alcohol zone bill amid Whiteclay lawsuit (2/14)
Kevin Abourezk: Legal doubts in Oglala Sioux Whiteclay suit (2/13)
Kevin Abourezk: Oglala Sioux Tribe in $500M Whiteclay case (2/10)
Oglala Sioux Tribe files lawsuit targeting liquor in Whiteclay (2/9)

Join the Conversation