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The Abramoff corruption scandal got just a teensy bit wider today when Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow resubmitted her campaign finance reports from 2002 and 2003 to show that she took donations from Indian tribes connected to the disgraced lobbyist. Stabenow had originally reported the donations as an individual contribution:
Sen. Debbie Stabenow's campaign has corrected her campaign finance reports to show that some donations from 2002 and 2003 came from an Indian tribe then represented by now-disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, not an individual as she reported at the time.
Stabenow's campaign originally reported that $4,000 in donations came from Christopher Petras, who was the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe's legislative director at the time. The donations came during a period in which Stabenow and other Michigan lawmakers sought funding for the tribe and wrote letters to federal regulators on the tribe's behalf. ...
The wealthy Mount Pleasant, Mich., tribe, which operates a casino, contributed $308,980 during the 2002 campaign cycle and $564,480 during the 2004 campaign, according to campaign finance watchdog group PoliticalMoneyLine.com.
The tribe received $3 million in funding approved in November 2003 to build a school on the reservation.
The change points out yet another Democrat that not only took contributions from Abramoff-related tribes but also intervened on their behalf. Harry Reid took in almost $68,000 in contributions from Abramoff clients and intervened on their behalf four times, which the AP revealed in February. Abramoff even hired one of Reid's former staffers as a lobbyist, who immediately started fundraising for Reid. Reid also tried to bury these connections, but apparently did not do so as well as Stabenow.
In reviewing overall donations from Indian gaming interests, an interesting dynamic appears. According to Open Secrets, Democrats have outraised Republicans in this industry by a wide margin in each cycle, even while Republicans have controlled Congress:
2006..................58/42 (so far)
Over this period of time, these interests have given $10 million more in donations to Democrats than Republicans. Until 2006, the best the GOP could get was a third of their political contributions. This doesn't quite match the rhetoric from the media about the so-called culture of corruption that the GOP supposedly introduced into a pristine legislative process.
The ugly truth about corruption in government is that both sides have elected officials who indulge in it. For every Cunningham there is a Mollohan, and it has ever been thus. The culture of corruption comes not from party affiliation but from the unbelievably lucrative trough supplied to legislators by an American electorate that demands a government solution to every problem. As long as we maintain a large, intrusive bureaucracy, special interests will buy or rent whomever they can to get access to it. Reid, Stabenow, Cunningham, and all of the others who intervene to get their pet contributors government cash all deserve scorn and prosecution. The sooner both sides grow up and acknowledge that love of money is the root of all corruption, and that reducing the size and reach of government is the only long-term solution, the closer we will be to truly cleaning up our politics.Sphere It View blog reactions
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