McCaleb: White House had 'chilling effect' on BIA
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

When Secretary of Interior Gale Norton reversed a decision to restore water flows to 10,000 non-Indian farmers in the Klamath Basin, she had a good reason: White House political aide Karl Rove.

The Wall Street Journal chronicles Rove's involvement in the dispute, which left tribes on the Oregon-California border without their treaty-ensured rights. In early January, a day after President Bush promised to help the farmers, Rove met with senior Interior officials to point out that restoring the water would help Republican Senator Gordon Smith's re-election campaign.

Rove's presentation had a "chilling effect' on discussions, former assistant secretary Neal McCaleb told The Journal. His former deputy, Wayne Smith, said Rove told the GOP officials to "support our base," the paper reported.

Norton ended up restoring flows in March, after a report from the National Research Council questioned the department's earlier decision to cut off the farmers' water.

Get the Story:
Oregon Water Saga Illuminates Rove's Methods With Agencies (The Wall Street Journal 7/30)

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