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Politics
Choctaws rehire lobbyist accused in Abramoff fraud


The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has rehired a lobbyist accused of participating in the potential defrauding of the tribe, The Jackson Clarion Ledger reports.

The tribe hired Kevin Ring, who used to work with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff at the Greenberg Traurig firm and at Preston Gates. Ring [Bio] now works for Barnes & Thornburg. He has been hired by the Choctaws to lobby on general tribal issues, according to a Senate filing [Registration].

Ring appeared at the Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday that focused on the tribe. He refused to testify, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

In documents released by the committee, Ring wondered whether he could pass on his $800 university club dues to the tribe. "There is no way to bury this in the Choctaw ... bill?" Ring asked Abramoff in an e-mail.

Ring also worked for Sandia Pueblo in New Mexico, one of Abramoff's former clients, according to the committee. McCain said Ring "didn't provide any services" the tribe, whose leader, Gov. Stuwart Paisano, has said Abramoff wasn't worth his high fees.

At the hearing, Choctaw witnesses said Abramoff and his associates performed legitimate work but that they attempted to overbill the tribe, participated in a "gimme five" kickback scheme and used tribal funds for unauthorized purchases.

Nell Rogers, the tribe's planner, said she was "beyond anger" after learning of the alleged deceit but that she felt betrayed. Tribal representatives didn't return phone calls from the Clarion-Ledger to comment about the hiring of Ring, the paper said.

Get the Story:
New tribe rep linked to old (The Jackson Clarion Ledger 6/24)

Committee Exhibits:
Part 1 | Part 2

Witness List/Testimony:
Oversight Hearing Before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on the In Re Tribal Lobbying Matters, Et Al (June 22, 2005)

Relevant Links:
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians - http://www.choctaw.org

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