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Politics
Vitter responsible for anti-tribal appropriations rider


Former Congressman and current Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) was responsible for language in an appropriations bill that discouraged approval of an off-reservation casino that was opposed by Jack Abramoff's clients, Raw Story reports.

Vitter confirmed that his staff worked with Abramoff to draft the language against the Jena Band of Choctaws. At the time, the landless tribe was seeking federal approval to acquire land for gaming purposes, an effort opposed the Coushatta Tribe, one of Abramoff's clients.

But Vitter said his staff also consulted other "experts" in gaming law before inserting the provision in the 2004 Interior appropriations bill. He denies any "quid pro quo" with Abramoff even though Abramoff held a fundraiser for him on September 9, 2003 -- just as the bill was being considered by Congress.

The language was contained in the conference committee report for the bill. [PDF] It singled out the Jena Band and -- at the insistence of Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-New York) -- the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Okahoma.
The managers are concerned about the growing number of tribes, both landless and with an existing reservation, that are at-tempting to claim reservation rights that would allow them to en-gage in gaming operations in States where they have no reserva-tion or trust land status. For example, the Seneca-Cayuga tribe of Oklahoma is attempting to open a gaming operation in the State of New York. The Jena Band of Choctaw in Louisiana is attempt-ing to take land into trust for gaming purposes in an area of Lou-isiana that is outside their traditional service area. Trust status for gaming purposes on non-contiguous lands requires that a tribe en-gage in a rigorous approval process requiring approval by the Gov-ernor of an affected State as well as input and support from the local community. The managers expect the Department of the Inte-rior and the National Indian Gaming Commission to implement fully the existing rules and regulations governing these types of gaming operations.

Get the Story:
Capitol Hill daily covers Raw Story exclusive on fallen lobbyist’s fundraiser for Sen. Vitter (Raw Story 3/16)
Scandal surrounding lobbyist linked to DeLay ensnares two more Republican congressmen (Raw Story 3/15)

Relevant Links:
Jena Band of Choctaw Indians - http://www.jenachoctaw.org
Coushatta Tribe - http://www.coushattatribela.org
Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy - http://www.crea-online.org/crea

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