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Reply #18: Abramoff described Interior Deputy Secretary Steve Griles as "a friend ..... [View All]

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L. Coyote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jun-28-07 01:34 PM
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18. Abramoff described Interior Deputy Secretary Steve Griles as "a friend .....
Grover and Jack's Long Adventure
By Peter H. Stone, National Journal
National Journal Group Inc.

Grover Norquist ... and some 20 or 30 corporate lobbyists who help subsidize Americans for Tax Reform, the anti-tax group that Norquist heads ... lobbyists pay ATR between $10,000 and $25,000 a year for the privilege of attending several ... get-togethers, which have featured the likes of White House political guru Karl Rove ... the K Street crowd has been joined at the dinners by ... leaders of some casino-owning Indian tribes who were top clients of one of Norquist's oldest friends, former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. ... some of these same tribal representatives also attended brief meetings at the White House with President Bush that Norquist has organized annually ...

... Abramoff ... steered nearly $1.8 million in donations to Norquist's ATR from Indian tribes and other clients ... Abramoff used ATR as a conduit in 1999 and 2000, for example, to send some $1.15 million from the Mississippi Choctaws to the Alabama Christian Coalition and to an allied anti-gambling group in the state. The funds were for a campaign spearheaded by Ralph Reed ... to defeat a proposed gambling venture in Alabama that posed a financial threat to the Mississippi Choctaws' casino enterprises ... the Choctaws poured about $1.5 million into ATR coffers, roughly three-quarters of which was used to help defeat an Alabama lottery referendum

... Norquist appears to have played some role in helping Abramoff hook up with the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA), a group that Norquist helped to found in 1997 along with Gale Norton ... CREA became a key lobbying ally for at least two of the tribes ... Coushattas gave $150,000 and the Chippewas gave $75,000 to CREA when Abramoff was seeking the council's help.

CREA proved instrumental to Abramoff's efforts to persuade a top Interior Department official -- including the then-No. 2 at the department, Steve Griles -- to side with some of Abramoff's Indian casino clients against rival tribes that were seeking to open casinos in Louisiana and Michigan. The Washington Post has reported that Italia Federici, who runs CREA, used her personal pull with Griles to get the Interior official to help Abramoff's tribal clients ward off competition ...

Norquist not only co-founded CREA, he also sublet or gave space to the new organization for about a year at ATR's former offices ... Norquist was a featured guest at a CREA fundraiser ... which also drew Griles and representatives of energy interests ...

... Abramoff was eager to help Griles get into the Bush administration ... Abramoff described Griles as "a friend .....
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