The Democrats may want to scratch their "culture of corruption" meme soon. Human Events reports:
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D.—Nev.) sent a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton on March 5, 2002, asking her to veto an agreement between the state of Louisiana and the Jena tribe of Choctaw Indians that would have allowed the tribe to open a casino in Louisiana.
The day after Reid sent the letter, according to the Associated Press, Louisiana's Coushatta tribe, which already operated a casino, and which was a client of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but which did not want competition from the Jena tribe, sent a $5,000 contribution to Reid's tax—exempt Searchlight Leadership Fund. A second tribe represented by Abramoff, the AP reported, also sent Reid's group a $5,000 contribution. Ultimately, according to the AP, Reid collected more than $66,000 in Abramoff—related contributions.
Now, Reid is asking the Senate Ethics Committee to review the matter and clear him of any impropriety, insisting that he intervened to stop the Jena tribe's Louisiana casino to protect the interests of casinos in his home state of Nevada and to urge the Interior Secretary to apply Reid's strict interpretation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 (IGRA). Reid sponsored IGRA, which sought to limit the development of Indian gaming around the country and to disallow such gaming, with few exceptions, on land not already part of an Indian reservation as of 1988.
According to an analysis of Federal Election Commission reports by OpenSecrets.org, (See chart above.) Reid, between 1989—2005, received more than a million dollars in contributions from PACs and individuals connected to the gambling industry. The analysis indicates that Reid received $158,450 linked to MGM Mirage, a company that not only operates casinos in Nevada, but also runs the Beau Rivage casino in Biloxi, Miss., which might have been a nearby competitor to the Louisiana casino contemplated by the Jena tribe. Contributions linked to MGM Mirage comprised the single largest bloc of contributions to Reid.
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