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Abramoff Scandal
Burns staffer went on Abramoff Super Bowl trip


A staffer for Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Montana) said he went to the 2001 Super Bowl at Jack Abramoff's invitation because he was told it was being sponsored by a tribe, The Billings Gazette reports.

Ryan Thomas works on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Burns is chairman of the subcommittee that handles Indian funding and has been questioned for making decisions favoring Abramoff's tribal clients while accepting money from Abramoff and the tribes.

Thomas denies that actions he took on behalf of tribes were influenced by Abramoff. "My office door is open to every tribe and the representation they choose to hire," he told The Gazette. He said he supported a $3 million grant to a wealthy tribal client because the state's congressional delegation supported the grant.

He said he took the Super Bowl trip because it was being sponsored by a tribe. But it turns out that SunCruz, a casino company that Abramoff had purchased, paid for the trip.

Thomas says he is working with the Senate Ethics Committee to clear up his involvement.

Get the Story:
Burns staffer: Lobbyist had no influence (The Billings Gazette 12/21)

Relevant Links:
Sen. Conard Burns - http://burns.senate.gov
Montana Democratic Party - http://www.montanademocrats.org

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