It all comes down to Cobell v. Norton?
February 10, 2006 1:20 PM   Subscribe

Just how far does this Abramoff stuff go? Sure, we've heard all about the charges of political corruption, but Wampum has been diligently putting the pieces together, and some strange things are coming up, like the Dawes act of 1887, Cobell v. Norton, and $176 billion owed by ranchers and the oil and gas industry to Native Americans. Dustin Wax at Savage Minds concluded that "Abramoff and his peers both in Congress and the business world are working to undermine the last vestige of autonomy Indian peoples possess."
posted by jefgodesky (15 comments total)
Which is weird, given that Abramoff was supposed to be working for the indians.
posted by delmoi at 1:32 PM on February 10, 2006

Well, one of the main charges against him is double-dealing. While holding them as clients, he also helped other lobbyists to work against them, so that they would continue to need his services.
posted by jefgodesky at 1:33 PM on February 10, 2006

So he was actually using their money to ultimately undermine them, or so it seems. Damn that's shady. The government corruption stuff didn't really bother me, but ugh.

But who knows how reliable those sites actually are. Are they providing an accurate picture, or data mining and supporting preconceived notions or conspiracy theories? It's hard to tell.
posted by delmoi at 1:39 PM on February 10, 2006

I know we aren't supposed to self link, but I and several other bloggers in Idaho have discovered over $13,000 in donations to our state Republican Party from Tan Holdings Company, and other Saipan sweatshop factories during the 98 election year.

Looks like Dirty DeLay/Abramoff money was rolling into Idaho as well.

It also looks like Tan Holdings *may* have been attaching these contributions to the names of lowlevel sweatshop workers to get around campaign finance rules.

If you're interested in this angle, check it out here:

I wonder if people start digging, how many other states saw influxes of dirty sweatshop money from Saipan rolling into state GOP coffers?
posted by stenseng at 1:47 PM on February 10, 2006

stenseng; it's acceptable to provide a self-link in a comment, just not in a front-page post.

Good work, though. Let's just hope you can get beyond the "oh come on that's ancient history!" stigma that pundits attach to anything from more than a year ago.
posted by odinsdream at 1:50 PM on February 10, 2006

This is why the talking point that Democrats also took money from Abramoff "associates" is bunk. The "associates" are the tribes that Abramoff was bilking. They were his victims, not his "associates." Trying to taint their political contributions with his corruption is adding insult to injury.
posted by Happy Monkey at 4:18 PM on February 10, 2006

The abuse of native American status in the Abramoff affair is disgustingly racist. As portrayed in the American press, it seems to be a simple fleecing of cynical “Casino Tribes.” Wampum has begun to really shed light on the audacity of this portrayal. Basically, the Republicans targeted the most traditional small native communities they could find and played them for the fool.

For one thing, many of the Indian nations targeted by Abramoff were originally targeted back in the 1990s by George W. Bush back when he was Governor of Texas for failing to donate to local Republican campaigns. The ultimate fraud seems to be Abramoff’s sales pitch supporting the Casino claims of the the Louisiana Koasati Casino against the Texas Alibamu-Coushatta ( a different spelling of Coushatta) Tribal Casino.

Many of the Tribes targeted by Abramoff and his Republican backers are specifically those who maintain the strongest native language communities, such as Choctaw, Coushatta, Koasati, Kickapoo, Meskwaki, and Anishnabe. American Indian Languages are extremely endangered – but the fact is that these communities still raise children in these languages. And of course, it is always easier to defraud a traditional community than a corporate entity. These are the communities that Abramoff labeled “troglodytes.” You don’t see the big, so-called “casino tribes” such as the Pequots and Mohegans, with their high paid hot shot lawyers, being targeted by the Republicans, do you?

On a separate note, it turns my Yiddish guts to dreck to see Abramoff traipsing around in a black hat and coat - (dude... is that hat supposed to be Lubavitch or Litvak or Ger? Vus macht?... Kenstu a frummer Yiddisher trachtn oder vus?) totally out of style with traditional Orthodox Jewish fashion - trying to make his dumb ass out to be a persecuted Ortho Jewish victim. Makes me frigging sick. (Pardon my yiddish. I'm angry. This story pisses me off no end.)
posted by zaelic at 5:59 PM on February 10, 2006

thanks for bringing a lot of focus to an overlooked part of this story - I knew absolutely nothing about any of the tribes and I've been following this scandal for a while. Nice post!
posted by rks404 at 6:28 PM on February 10, 2006

When you read up on the actual guilty plea Abramoff entered, it should be clear that it wasn't that he was bribing Congressmen in exchange for legislation -- it was that he defrauded his lobbying clients. That's why Abramoff's personal monies are tainted and why Congressmen are donating equivalent funds to charity.

Everytime you hear somebody -- say, Katie Couric -- talk about how a Democrat "took money from Abramoff or his clients", they're essentially regurgitating a self-protective fax from the office of Ken Mehlman. The GOP hopes it will appear that there was something wrong with that. There wasn't, other than the usual sordid Washington influence-peddling.

Unfortunately, few people understand why Abramoff is a problem.
posted by dhartung at 7:03 PM on February 10, 2006


This is a diagram I made a while back. I have been informed that the particular numbers may be suspect, but the gist is correct. All of the green is perfectly legal. The red is illegal.
posted by Happy Monkey at 7:21 PM on February 10, 2006

Well, if they're right (and I'm not sure how big an "if" that is), then Abramoff's a lot more than just a sophisticated crook. If this is all correct, we're talking about nothing less than the final act in the centuries-long process of genocide, appropriation and dispossession by which the United States conquered a populated landmass, and what we did to said population for being in our way. It strikes to the very ugly foundation of U.S. history, and represents the last defeat to be inflicted on the people we stole this country from.
posted by jefgodesky at 9:03 PM on February 10, 2006

stenseng: you should post that to projects
posted by delmoi at 10:05 PM on February 10, 2006

delmoi: done and done
posted by stenseng at 12:41 AM on February 11, 2006

First pic of Bush w Abramoff.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:56 PM on February 11, 2006

Heh. "First Pic" because it's the first of the eventual flood of pictures that are going to demonstrate Bush was, indeed, quite familiar with the man.

Cheeky media, expecting there to be a leak!
posted by five fresh fish at 9:18 PM on February 11, 2006

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