Indian leaders testify in lobbyist probe
Tribe chairman: 'They hit the jackpot with us'
Wednesday, November 2, 2005
...In October 2001, the tribe paid Michael Scanlon $870,000 to create a grass-roots political structure in Texas because it was told the state was on the verge of legalizing gambling and that would devastate the Coushatta casino, which relies on customers from Houston, the Senate panel was told....
Now you can hire someone, for less than a million dollars, to create a grass-roots political movement for you! And no one will notice that this is a patently ludicrous thing, because CNN considers it quite normal and not worthy of comment.
The politics of this little article are extraordinary, though. Did the Indians really believe it was going to take grass-roots activism to keep Texas from legalizing gambling? Do they expect us to believe that they're innocent victims for having attempted to buy 80 million dollars worth of political influence?
Then on the other hand: they're a domestic dependent nation. That is, these particular Indians can't be punished for abuses of the U.S. political system, since after all they're technically a nation unto themselves. "The Coushattas hired Abramoff and Scanlon's lobbying services to help thwart the Jena Choctaws, another Louisiana tribe, from opening its own casino." Makes perfect sense, as does this: "The tribe donated $45,000 to DeLay's national political fundraising committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, and another $10,000 to Texans for a Republican Majority, also founded by DeLay and now at the center of the Texas campaign finance investigation involving him." (This story goes some way towards explaining why Republicans in the administration have been such friends to Native nations.)
But the irony for Republicans is that what might well happen here is that the Indians may bring down one of the most racist power structures currently operating in Washington and its omphalos Tom DeLay, while promoting precisely what they lobbied for in the first place: futile debate about gambling in Texas. Jackpot!