Archive for Indian tribes

Republican Governors go after Tribes and Gregoire

Posted in Native Vote Washington with tags , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2008 by nativevotewa

A while back we wrote about the Building Industry Association of Washington’s television ads alleging that Governor Christine Gregoire’s approval of the state’s gaming compacts were an illicit payoff or kickback deal between Washington’s Indian tribes and the Governor.

Now we understand that (and we’re sure the Governor understands) that pretty much any deal she makes or position she takes is open to some sort of criticism.  That comes with the territory.  And it’s one thing to say “you know, that gambling deal was bad for the state”.  There are legitimate arguments for both sides.  But what we don’t get is the idea that Rossi’s supporters, in this case the Republican Governors Association, skip that debate and in their latest 30 second TV spot simply go into accusation and innuendo.  It just doesn’t make sense to simply say that there must have been a corrupt deal (or as the lastest ad says “payoff” and “quid pro quo” — their words not ours) when there is no evidence of that at all. 

In fact, as we have pointed out, even our state GOP leaders and the GOP attorney general have said the deal was above board.  But if the Republican Governors are going to run an ad saying that the tribes paid off Governor Gregoire without any sort of evidence, then it’s hard to see how anyone can take the ad as saying anything but the Tribes are corrupt as well.  And because the Republican Governor’s ad doesn’t say WHICH tribes they basically are tar and feathering ALL 29 of Washington’s tribes.

You know we have pointed out how there are going to be about 70,000 Native votes in play this November.  And the Republican Governors and Dino Rossi should know this.  But when the Republicans run a statewide ad saying that all of Washington’s Indian tribes are corrupt, all we can figure is that they are o.k. with telling Washington’s Native voters, “we don’t care about you.”  How else can we take the latest Republican Governors’ ad?  And what does that say about how the GOP Governors feel about Indian tribes in other states like New Mexico, Wisconsin, and Michigan?

At best, Rossi has to do better from a strategy stand point, IF he wants the Indian vote.  He actually came to the Seafair Pow Wow and campaigned for the Native vote, so it sounded like he was sincere.  And given that his narrow loss four years ago was because the Native vote made the difference, he should be sincere.  But you can’t really get away with telling Native voters that you will do well for them in office when at the same time you are running TV ads calling Indian tribes corrupt.

We think that if you simply don’t want or feel that you don’t need the Native vote, just do what most other politicians do and ignore Native voters.  That usually does the trick.  But spending millions on insulting Native voters seems to be overkill.  What are we missing?


Oriental massages, hookers, whatever…

Posted in Native Vote Washington with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2008 by nativevotewa

The Abramoff Scandal continues to leave us scratching our collective heads.


Yesterday, police arrested Kevin Ring, a former lobbyist for Team Abramoff with both the Greenberg Traurig and Preston Gates law firms.  Ring was a key player who, according to the indictment, traded gifts like dinners, football, baseball, and concert tickets with Congressional and Justice and Interior Department staffers in return for favors for Abramoff’s clients.  In one case, Abramoff put Rep. John Doolittle’s wife Julie on the payroll to the tune of $96,000 at one of his charities but told Ring to make sure she was “not be overburdened with work.”  In another instance, Ring plied Robert Coughlin, a Justice Department official, with gifts to protect an earmark for a tribal jail in Mississippi.  After saving the $16 million earmark, Ring e-mailed Padgett Wilson, another Justice official:


Ring: “I have the suite filling up with [Department of Justice] staffers that just got our client $16 million. Come to the [Dave Matthews Band] show, baby.”


Wilson: “Are there any tickets left?  And as for DOJ staffers, those guys should get anything they want for the rest of the time they are in office – opening day tickets, Skins v Giants, oriental massages, hookers, whatever…..”


One thing is for sure – we wouldn’t want to land in the middle of a Verizon Center skybox full of DoJ staffers and pantellas at a DMB concert.  We guess it’s a good thing that their boss John Aschcroft, whose “operation pipedream” ended with the prosecution and jailing of Tommy Chong, wasn’t there to witness the spectacle

Jack Abramoff gets 4 years

Posted in Native Vote Washington with tags , , , , , , on September 5, 2008 by nativevotewa

Abramoff in Better Days

Abramoff in Better Days

Jack Abramoff, former super-lobbyist and now common-thief, was sentenced yesterday to four years of jail time for crimes that include stealing from Indian tribes while at the same time calling them all sorts of names behind their backs.


We want to note that Presidential candidate John McCain worked hard as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to seriously investigate Abramoff at a time when the GOP-controlled Congress was not especially keen on investigating a lobbyist with strong GOP ties.  McCain, aware that the investigation might not shine an entirely friendly or positive light on Indian gaming, or the tribes that used Abramoff’s services, said back in 2005:


“I commend the tribes and their leaders for having the wisdom to understand that this investigation is not an attack on tribal sovereignty, for displaying the courage to cooperate in the face of their critics, and for having the perseverance to see this through until the bitter end.”


McCain unearthed the fact that six tribes – the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Pueblo of Ysleta del Sur of Texas, and the Pueblo of Sandia of New Mexico – paid over $66 million to Abramoff’s partner Mike Scanlon’s firm, which secretly rerouted $21 million to Abramoff himself. The $66 million does not include the millions paid directly to Abramoff or to his foundation or the Council for Republican Environmental Advocacy, or a fake think tank (run by a lifeguard)! Since McCain’s investigation discovered that Abramoff and Scanlon used most fees on their own projects (restaurants, schools) and their own homes, it is hard to see how the tribes got a good deal. In fact, the McCain report shows that the Coushatta paid Scanlon $30 million, of which about $21 million was profit, which Scanlon and Abramoff secretly split.


Oh well, as a non-profit we can only sigh when we recall former Abramoff confidant (and convicted criminal/girlfriend of Steve Griles) Italia Federici’s e-mail that said, “ahhh – the glamorous world of non-profit work – about one half step above beggar!”



Ironically, we are not sure how Abramoff (a man who once impressed tribal leadership with talk about “breaking bones and busting kneecaps”, McCain report page 187) will fare in jail. We’ll be checking out his new prison tats for clues. We think he should have to work as some sort of prison butler (let’s be honest, we can think of another word) for Leonard Peltier as part of his sentence, but that’s just us.


And to think that this whole investigation started because Scanlon decided to call off his engagement so he could start dating a 24 year old waitress … Keep that in mind.