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Tribal Observer Issue: March 1, 2006

Casino interests spend millions on lobbying, political campaigns

(Editor’s note: The following series of articles were written by Associated Press writer Tim Martin of the Lansing bureau following a recent visit to the Isabella Reservation. The stories were preceded by the following explanation: “Gambling is big business in Michigan. Michigan casino owners and American Indian Tribes that want to open new casinos have spent more than $32 million on government lobbying and political campaigns since 2000, The Associated Press has found. This is one in a series of stories exploring the details of that spending and the effect casinos have had in Michigan.”)

Saginaw Chippewa Tribe tries to put Abramoff in past

MT. PLEASANT (AP)—The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan is trying to move on from the scandal involving indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

The Tribe hasn’t shied away from hiring Washington lobbyists, but it has changed its policy on campaign donations.

Congress eyes reforms in wake of corruption

LANSING (AP)—Concerns about the growth of Indian casinos and Tribal lobbying of public officials have sparked talk of reforms in the federal government.

Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Brighton has introduced legislation that would place a two-year moratorium on new Indian casinos. Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona who heads the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, is holding hearings to try and strengthen Indian gaming laws.

Tribe, region benefit from casino revenues

Southwest Michigan Tribes frustrated in casino attempts

LANSING (AP)—Three Indian Tribes have been trying to open casinos in southwest Michigan for years.

They blame their delayed openings, in part, on rival gambling operations that want to prevent new competition from grabbing a share of Michigan’s $2 billion casino business.

Michigan has 20 casinos, including 17 run by Indian Tribes. At least a half-dozen others are in the planning stages.

Republicans, Democrats field Abramoff questions

LANSING (AP)—Republicans and Democrats alike have faced questions about donations connected to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his former clients, including the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe.

List of lobbying, political donations by casino interests

A breakdown, according to estimates compiled from federal and state lobbying records and PoliticalMoneyLine reports:

Delay sought for sentencing in fraud case

MIAMI (AP)—The U.S. Justice Department and defense lawyers asked a federal judge recently to delay the scheduled March sentencing of lobbyist Jack Abramoff in a Florida fraud case to allow him more time to cooperate in a broader government corruption investigation.