馃 Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal - Wikipedia

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The Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal was a United States political scandal exposed in The lobbyist's main contact in the West Wing of the White House was his former aide Susan Ralston, who became the The Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, or "Tigua tribe" opened its Speaking Rock Casino near El Paso, Texas in


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Abramoff and his partner Scanlon are alleged to have engaged in a series of corrupt practices in connection to their lobbying work for various Indian gaming tribes. Scanlon suggested forming a "Grassroots Political Structure" in Texas to oppose the Tigua's effort to have gambling approved on their land. The opposition efforts succeeded, and the Tigua officially closed their casino on February 12, As the Tigua casino was being closed, Abramoff was trying to contact the Tigua tribe. Abramoff proposed that he and Greenberg Traurig would represent the tribe pro bono until the casino was re-opened. Later in , Abramoff enlisted the help of another Republican friend, Ralph Reed. I can achieve this if I can run some of the money for the Coushattas through the firm and then get it to CCS. State prosecution continued in Texas, which ended in November with DeLay being found guilty of conspiracy and money laundering. In August , the federal government ended a six-year investigation of DeLay's ties to Abramoff, according to Richard Cullen, DeLay's lead counsel in the matter. The act stated that "[all] gaming activities which are prohibited by the laws of the State of Texas are hereby prohibited on the reservation and on lands of the tribe. Scanlon also promised a customized database and "electronic-related services", based on polling and collection of information of individuals who could be "mobilized" in letter-writing campaigns and phone calls to officials. Reed also claimed to work directly with John Cornyn; in a November 15 email, Abramoff claimed "Ralph and I spoke last night. On June 22, the U. Kathryn Van Hoof, the Coushatta's outside counsel, introduced the idea to the Tribal Council that having a high-powered Federal lobbyist could help also with any problems on the state level. The guilty pleas signed by Abramoff in early January state that he bribed public officials. The hiring of Rudy was one of the first instances in a pattern by which Abramoff would directly hire former aides of representatives whom he was actively lobbying. In one case, they secretly orchestrated lobbying against their own clients in order to force them to pay for lobbying services. On January 3, , Abramoff pleaded guilty to three felony counts鈥 conspiracy , fraud, and tax evasion鈥攊nvolving charges stemming principally from his lobbying activities in Washington on behalf of Native American tribes. Abramoff mentioned his and Scanlon's ties with Tom DeLay, and the fact that he "worked with people" in the Department of Interior. Scanlon and Abramoff skimmed millions of dollars for themselves from fees paid through this method. Cornyn is supposed to call Ralph as soon as he can make it to a phone after El Paso. Abramoff and Scanlon suggested to the Coushatta that they ought to support Christian evangelical conservatives, as they were expected to oppose gaming expansion in Texas. Later in , Abramoff used Reed's services again to oppose the federal Internet Gambling Prohibition Act , on behalf of eLottery, a corporate client. It would be kind of like hypocritical. But, he said they would have to pay "a lot" for Scanlon's services. Abramoff and Scanlon were well recommended to the tribe by a representative of the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana. He also admitted that the Louisiana Coushatta were also his client, but claimed that the Coushatta did not have a problem with the Tigua pursuing a casino. On April 6, , Abramoff got Preston Gates to approve hiring Reed as a subcontractor, and told Reed to "get me invoices as soon as possible so I can get Choctaw to get us checks asap. Abramoff and Michael Scanlon appeared to begin their plan for fraud via an email exchange on June 18, , as documented in "Gimme Five"鈥擨nvestigation of Tribal Lobbying Matters , the final report of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs' investigation into Abramoff. According to Washington Business Forward , a lobbying trade magazine, " [Tom DeLay] was a major factor in those victories, and the fight helped cement the alliance between the two men. The Tribal Council was initially somewhat confused by the relationship between Abramoff and Scanlon; one member believed that Scanlon's company was a branch of Greenberg Traurig. In Griles and Federici pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the Senate investigation of the Abramoff scandal; Griles on March 23 and Federici on June 8. On March 23, , J. The Alabama Coushatta, a related but competing tribe, was also seeking to open a casino in eastern Texas in Abramoff told the Louisiana Coushatta that if the Tigua succeeded in their court case, Texas would be forced to allow the Alabama Coushatta to open a casino in the state. Abramoff and Scanlon proposed a much larger scope of work to the tribe. After being paid, Reid agreed to assist Abramoff in matters concerning Indian casinos. Abramoff used these persons' influence to lobby their former Congressional employers, in violation of a one-year federal ban on such lobbying. This would have resulted in competition for their casino business. The State of Texas succeeded in closing the casino in In October , Abramoff suggested to the Louisiana Coushatta that the Texas legislature was "one vote away" from legalizing certain forms of gambling in Texas. Department of Interior , pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the Senate investigation of the Abramoff scandal. Abramoff and Scanlon grossly overbilled their clients, secretly splitting the multi-million dollar profits. One of Abramoff's first actions was to defeat a Congressional bill that sought to use the unrelated business income tax UBIT to tax Native American casinos; it was sponsored by Reps. At Greenberg Traurig, Abramoff assembled a " dream team " made up of men who had previously worked as staff for Congressional leaders. He proposed getting a friendly lawmaker to sneak a provision or rider into a federal bill that would permit the Tigua to reopen their casino, and said that it would require the tribe to make contributions to the lawmakers. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs released its final report on the scandal. In particular, Abramoff and Scanlon were alleged to have conspired with Washington power broker Grover Norquist and Christian activist Ralph Reed to coordinate lobbying against his own clients and prospective clients with the objective of forcing them to engage Abramoff and Scanlon to lobby against their own covert operations.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} Reed proposed to Abramoff some work which he and his firm, Century Strategies , could perform. On May 8, , Neil Volz, former chief of staff to Representative Bob Ney R- Ohio , staff director of the House Administration Committee, and later part of Team Abramoff , pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, including wire fraud and violating House rules, charges stemming from his work for both Ney and Greenberg Traurig. He said that Reed was supplying information about the anti-gambling effort to Abramoff, so he knew their strategy. Abramoff also suggested that participating in a DeLay golf tournament and paying "lists of suggested contributions" would give the tribe name recognition and access to politicians. In January , he was sentenced to three years in state prison. A few weeks later, after collecting details of the Coushatta's lobbying needs from Van Hoof, Abramoff and Scanlon gave a presentation to the Tribal Council. Reed had recently contacted Abramoff via email, looking for some help in establishing new business. Abramoff specifically suggested the tribe work with Republican Ralph Reed but, according to a tribal leader, he warned that "it can't get out It wouldn't look good if they're receiving money from a casino-operating tribe to oppose gaming. The tribe contacted Preston Gates, and soon after hired the firm and Abramoff. Reed Jr. In , Abramoff began representing Native American tribes that were seeking to establish gambling on reservations, starting with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. At some point, Scanlon would use his contacts in the public affairs industry to get the firm acquired at a price of three times the revenue, and Scanlon and Abramoff would split the profits. He reached the Tigua's public relations representative Marc Schwartz on February 6, , and met with the tribal council on February According to Schwartz, Abramoff "expressed indignation" over what had happened to the tribe and said that he wanted to "right the terrible injustice that had been brought upon the tribe. Scanlon claimed that his firm could organize direct mail, telephone, and media campaigns, as well as giving advice on strategies to gain the support of or neutralize the opposition of specific public officials. A few weeks ago you mentioned something to me鈥擨 took the concept and have put together a plan that will make serious money. The tribe discontinued paying the money through Preston Gates when Abramoff suggested that they use Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform as a conduit, to which the tribe agreed. Conrad Burns R. In addition to working on grassroots efforts, Abramoff claimed that he had also influenced the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Bill Ratcliff , to prevent a bill to allow the Tigua to open their casino from being scheduled for a vote in the State Senate. Hey, now that I'm done with electoral politics, I need to start humping in corporate accounts! Abramoff claimed that he could get appropriation earmarks for the tribe, and "get things passed through the legislature". Steven Griles , former Deputy Secretary of the U. The Choctaw originally had lobbied the federal government directly, but beginning in , they found that many of the congressional members who had responded to their issues had either retired or were defeated in the " Republican Revolution " of the elections. After Abramoff's guilty plea, the federal government shifted its investigation in January to focus on the lobbying firm Alexander Strategy Group , [8] founded by a "close friend of DeLay 's and his former chief of staff. A political appointee, he was the top Bush administration official to plead guilty in the scandal. I'm counting on you to help me with some contacts. The tribe was interested in negotiating a year compact with the state, but was expecting a "very vigorous fight" and were not certain that their current lobbying representatives were up to the challenge. The second part of Abramoff's strategy was for Scanlon to create a nationwide database of grassroots supporters who could be called on to send letters and make phone calls to representatives to block any repeal. I hate hiding behind lawyers鈥攂ut we are going to do some crazy stuff on this one鈥攕o I guess it's ok. As the Louisiana Coushatta attracted many customers from eastern Texas to their casino, a Texas-based Indian casino could pose a grave threat to their livelihood. In the State of Texas sought to have the casino closed based on its interpretation of the Tribal Restoration Act , which had granted the tribe Federal recognition. Reed worked with Houston pastors and church congregations to demand that the state government prevent the Tigua casinos from opening. One of the cases of bribery described in detail involves a person identified as "Representative 1," who was reported by the Washington Post to be Representative Bob Ney R-OH. In , the Louisiana Coushatta tribe were going to renegotiate their gambling compact with the State of Louisiana. John Doolittle R. Nell Rogers , the tribe's specialist on legislative affairs, had a friend who was familiar with Abramoff's father and Abramoff's work as a Republican activist. On November 25, , the Wall Street Journal reported the expansion of the investigation to four members of Congress: in addition to Ney and DeLay, the report includes Rep. However, the two men were hired and paid separately. He set up his own public affairs consulting firm and contacted Abramoff. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}The Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal was a United States political scandal exposed in ; it related to fraud perpetrated by political lobbyists Jack Abramoff , Ralph E. Once the provision was made law, opponents would try to repeal it. This is considered by investigators to be the beginning of what Abramoff and Scanlon would refer to as "gimme five". The Choctaw needed to defeat a bill in the Alabama State Legislature that would allow casino-style games at dog racing tracks. The tribe later claimed that there was evidence that Scanlon's proposed strategies were implemented. We also talked briefly about it in the beginning of the year but I think we can really move it now. He said, "we plan to do some things through the law firm umbrella due to their highly sensitive nature and confidentiality reasons. In the course of the scheme, the lobbyists were accused of illegally giving gifts and making campaign donations to legislators in return for votes or support of legislation. Members of the tribe later claimed that Abramoff "never told the Council that he would personally collect a share of those proceeds that the tribe paid Scanlon. Ney's spokesman confirmed that Ney was the representative identified, but denied any improper influence. Reed's political concerns.