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Politics
Tribal political donation 'loophole' on the radar


Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), the Republican who is proposing a moratorium on Indian gaming, plans to close the "loophole" that allows tribes to contribute freely to federal candidates and political action committees.

Under federal law, tribes are recognized as sovereigns. While they are subject to a $2,100 per candidate/committee per election limit, they can make an unlimited total amount of contributions. Since 2005, they have donated $25 million, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.

"There is no loophole," Jackie Johnson, the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, told The Washington Post. "We're been working hard to show that tribes are unique. We're governments and don't fit into the 'organization' category."

The Democratic National Committee agrees and says Republicans are trying to blame tribes for the Jack Abramoff scandal. "Now, by trying to restrict their ability to participate in the political process, Republicans in Congress are attacking the tribes once again," said spokesperson Damien LaVera.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will enter the debate next Wednesday, February 8. "We will be having several more hearings on this entire issue of Indian gaming and also this issue of political involvement and contributions," Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the committee chairman, said yesterday.

Get the Story:
A Tribal Loophole For Campaign Gifts (The Washington Post 2/2)
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Human Events Article:
McCain's Law Preserved Loophole for Tribal Contributions (Human Events Online January 29, 2006)

Federal Elections Commission Opinions:
Advisory Opinion 1999-32 (January 28, 2000) | Advisory Opinion 2000-05 (May 15, 2000) | Advisory Opinion 2005-01 (March 14, 2005)

More Advisory Opinion 2005-01 Documents:
Advisory Opinion Draft A and Draft B | Tribe's Request for Advisory Opinion

Relevant Links:
PoliticalMoneyLine - http://www.politicalmoneyline.com
Center for Responsive Politics - http://www.opensecrets.org

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