The more digging is done into the life and times of Jack Abramoff, the more malfeasance is discovered.
Tracking what happened to $175,000 contributed by two Indian tribes to a political group called CREA leads from a disgraced lobbyist to an elusive environmental organization spawned by Gale Norton before she became secretary of the Interior.
The money, which the tribes say they contributed to the group at the direction of a Washington, D.C., lobbyist now under federal investigation, is unaccounted for in public records where federal regulations say it should be listed.
The absence of an accounting adds another layer to the mystery of what became of more than two dozen contributions missing among $300,000 in checks issued by a Texas tribe to 79 political committees selected by lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
CREA stands for Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy. According to its filings with the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt organization, it has operated for more than four years without receiving any contributions or making any expenditures.
The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana said it issued checks for $50,000 to CREA in 2001 and $100,000 in 2002.
Also, the Tigua Indians, whose Ysleta del Sur Pueblo adjoins El Paso, said they issued a $25,000 check to CREA in 2002 and included it in a bundle of other political contributions they sent to Abramoff to distribute. Tribal Lt. Gov. Carlos Hisa said the check was cashed, but he would not disclose how it was endorsed.