When Billy Tauzin III announced this month that top Republicans would "campaign on his behalf" for Louisiana's 3rd Congressional District seat, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas was touted as the first in line to make an appearance.
But on Monday, with several of DeLay's associates now under indictment for possible breaches of campaign finance laws, the appearance was scaled back to a 1 1/2-hour private fund-raiser at the Airport Hilton in Kenner.
"There's outrage right now," Tigua Gov. Art Senclair said Monday. "You can sense it among tribal members who are asking, 'How could this happen?' "
"Shouldn't a victim of a crime be outraged?" he asked.
The Washington pair paid Reed and his consulting company as much as $4 million to organize a coalition to block several tribal casinos in the South, the Post reported. Abramoff and Scanlon at the time were representing tribes in Louisiana and Mississippi that were attempting to block competing tribal casinos in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, the newspaper said.
After the Tigua casino closed in February 2002, Abramoff and Scanlon pitched themselves as Washington influentials to Tigua leaders, while the tribe desperately tried to reopen the casino.
Abramoff wrote a tribal representative that he would get Republicans in Congress to fix the "gross indignity perpetuated by Texas state authorities" and assured the representative that he had lined up "a couple of Senators willing to ram this through," the Post reported.
A month later, in March 2002, the Tiguas sent three checks to Scanlon's firm totaling $4.2 million, according to the story. A check for half that amount was sent a month later from another Scanlon company to a company formed by Abramoff, the Post reported.
Abramoff sent Reed an e-mail Feb. 11, 2002, according to the Post story, which said: "I wish those moronic Tiguas were smarter in their political contributions. I'd love us to get our mitts on that moolah!! Oh well, stupid folks get wiped out."
The Senate Indian Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing Wednesday to review "lobbying practices involving Indian tribes."
The committee plans to scrutinize the activities of four tribes -- the Mississippi Choctaw, the Louisiana Coushatta, the Agua Caliente in California and the Saginaw Chippewa in Michigan. All four were clients of Scanlon and Abramoff.
In addition to the committee, the Justice Department and several other federal agencies are jointly investigating large payments by the four tribes to Abramoff. Some of that money was spent by tribes that sought to block other nearby tribes from opening casinos.
State Rep. Terry Keel, R-Austin, sponsored legislation three years ago to, in essence, legalize Indian gaming for the Tiguas. Anti-gambling groups countered with an aggressive radio advertising blitz, and his bill died in the Senate after passing in the House.
"It was clear to me that some of the opposition to treating the Indians fairly was coming from anti-gambling people who weren't really the money people in the equation," Keel said. "The anti- gambling interests in Texas were being funded by gambling interests in other states."
Keel, a former prosecutor and the first Republican sheriff elected in Travis County, said that what has happened to the Tiguas is "people's worst nightmare about potential corruption and special interests."
"It's very sad. I hope that the federal government gets to the bottom of it, and I hope that some people are held accountable," Keel said.
UPDATE: Another hometown newspaper of another Republican House Ethics Committee member calls for him to do the right thing and either recuse himself because of the campaign cash he's gotten from DeLay, or vote to turn the whole thing over to an independent counsel. Via Archpundit.Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 28, 2004 to Scandalized! | TrackBack