Abramoff scandal may derail Wampanoag casino

Cape Cod Indians Worry Abramoff Link May Hurt Casino Chances

Wampanoag GateJan. 12 (Bloomberg) -- The Mashpee Wampanoag Indians, who greeted the Pilgrims and the Mayflower in 1620, were in the final stretch of a 30-year quest for federal recognition. Then along came Jack Abramoff (on right).

Classification as a tribe would give the group, located about 70 miles south of Boston on western Cape Cod, rights including the ability to build a casino and eligibility for federal health, housing and education programs.

Tribal members such as Jessie Little Doe say their efforts may be delayed by their lobbyists' association with Abramoff, who pleaded guilty this month to conspiracy to corrupt public officials, mail fraud and tax evasion."The lobbyists we have were trained by Abramoff," said Little Doe, 42, a researcher and teacher of the Wampanoag language. "Are we getting the same level of ethics and behavior from a different person?"

The Wampanoag's tribal council last year paid $100,000 to lobbyists Kevin Ring and Michael Smith, who worked with Abramoff at law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP until 2004, said Scott Ferson, an outside spokesman for the council with Liberty Square Group in Boston. The council hired the lobbyists in 2003 because it was frustrated with the languishing application, Ferson said.

Read the rest of this Bloomberg story here, plus earlier Village Voice story here, and leave your comment below.

And the Wampanoags want more?
California tribes worried about fallout from Abramoff affair

According to a story in today's Sacramento Bee "...Despite Anthony Miranda's (chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association) call for Indian tribes to shun lobbyists and represent themselves in the halls of Congress, the Congressional Quarterly Weekly newspaper reported that many of Abramoff's former clients - including the Mississippi Band of Choctaws, the Hope and the Mashpee Wampanoag tribes - are lining up to sign on with new lobbying firms on Capitol Hill."

Read the rest of the Sacramento Bee story here, and make your comments below. 

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