Saturday, February 04, 2006

Abramoff: The Backstory

Abramoff and gaming Indians: Just the tip of the iceberg [Updated]

A great diary on dailykos, tying the Abramoff mess to the lawsuit by the Indian tribes who were never paid by the Indian Trust Fund for leases given on Indian land by the government. In the middle of the lawsuit, Interior Secretary Gail Norton ordered the destruction of a lot of government documents which would have shown how much the Indians were actually owed. Now the Indians want audit the books of the rich entities who got the leases: oil/gas, mining, ranching, forestry and agriculture interests.

So Norton did what she could to subvert the case, but as the heat was turned up, and the Administration losing appeal after appeal, she started pushing for Congressional Republicans to take the case and force a settlement. A settlement for a fraction of the potential amount, but one which would prevent an audit of industry accounts. Who is the chief supporter of a Congressional settlement? None other than the puppet of the oil, gas and mining industry, Richard Pombo. Twice Pombo has written legislation ordering a settlement (both times with no settlement figures, of course)...


This is where Abramoff comes in. He was the slush fund operator. Indians thought they were paying Pombo and others on House Resources and Senate Indian Affairs, et al., for help with gaming issues, and Abramoff was in fact padding coffers necessary to protect the industry from auditing.

No comments: