A Tribal Tussle
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux, a Minnesota tribe that runs the hugely successful Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, knows how to cause a Washington ruckus. Four years ago, the tribe’s lobbying effort helped persuade the Interior Department to reject a rival Indian casino project in Hudson, Wis. For roughly a year, Independent Counsel Carol Elder Bruce has been investigating allegations that Interior Secretary Bruce E. Babbitt denied the casino license because the tribes opposing the proposal contributed $ 400,000 to Democrats in 1995-96.
This time around, however, members of the Shakopee tribe are fighting one another. Two members of the tribe—Winifred Freezor and Cecilia St. Pierre—say the Interior Department has allowed corruption among tribal leaders to go unchecked . Since 1992, the two allege, the tribal council has allowed more than 350 adoptions by Shakopee members. Each adoptee is a tribal member and is entitled to roughly $ 700,000 a year from the casino. Many of the adoptees, Freezor and St. Pierre contend, don’t meet the tribe’s constitutional requirement that its members be one-quarter Shakopee. (The federal appeals court in Minneapolis has ruled that the tribal council can set membership requirements.) The issue is ”greed, pure and simple,” Freezor said. The two have hired the Washington office of the Richmond, Va.-based law firm of McGuire, Woods, Battle & Boothe to press the issue with Interior and with the House Resources Committee. The duo ”don’t want to disparage their tribe, but they feel legitimate members of the tribe have lost all rights,” said Elizabeth T. Walker, a vice president with McGuire Woods’ federal public affairs group. Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Star Tribune has reported that a federal grand jury in the independent-counsel investigation has subpoenaed the tribe’s enrollment records.
What We're Following See More »
"Senate Democrats on Thursday failed in their first attempt to save the state and local tax deduction, which helps many residents of California and other high-cost states reduce their federal income tax bills. The Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-47 to reject an amendment that would have prevented the Senate from considering any bill that repeals or limits the deduction as part of a planned tax overhaul."
"President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski appeared on Capitol Hill for a closed-door interview with the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. Lewandowski is the latest senior official in Trump's orbit who has met with the committee as part of its investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion with the Trump campaign."
"A growing number of key Republicans are sending this message to the leaders of the congressional committees investigating potential Trump campaign collusion with the Russians: Wrap it up soon. In the House and Senate, several Republicans who sit on key committees are starting to grumble that the investigations have spanned the better part of the past nine months, contending that the Democratic push to extend the investigation well into next year could amount to a fishing expedition."
After initially promising it in August, "President Trump said Monday that he will declare a national emergency next week to address the opioid epidemic." When asked, he also "declined to express confidence in Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), his nominee for drug czar, in the wake of revelations that the lawmaker helped steer legislation making it harder to act against giant drug companies."