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Politics
Tom Cole on the 'warpath' for political donations


Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), a member of the Chickasaw Nation, is vowing to kill any legislation that might limit the ability of tribes to make political contributions.

"I am on the warpath. Believe me I am," Cole told The Tulsa World in a story published on Friday.

Cole wrote a letter to his colleagues to oppose attempts to close what is being called the "loophole" in tribal gaming. He says tribes shouldn't be punished for the Jack Abramoff scandal.

"We don't have an Indian scandal. We don't have a gambling scandal," He told the paper, "We have a lobbying scandal."

Within the last two weeks, a number of news reports have indicated that lobbying reform legislation to be introduced by House Republicans would impose a cap on tribal giving. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), who is calling for a moratorium on Indian gaming, says he will try to close the "loophole."

According to the Federal Election Commission, tribes can contribute up to $2,100 per election to federal candidates, $5,000 per year to political action committees, $10,000 per year to the federal account of state parties and $26,700 to national parties. These are the same limits that apply to individuals.

An aggregate limit of $101,400 per two-year period applies only to individuals. Tribes and other entities such as political committees are not subject to this limit, according to the FEC.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will be holding a hearing this Wednesday, February 8, to discuss tribes and campaign finance law.

Get the Story:
Cole to fight limits on tribes (The Tulsa World 2/3)Paid subscription required.

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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