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Politics
Sen. Thune helps railroad, a former lobbying client



Cecilia Fire Thunder, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, talks with Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota), at National Congress of American Indians reception in the National Museum of the American Indian. February 27, 2006.
Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota) inserted language in a transportation bill allowing Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern, one of his former lobbying clients, to apply for $2.5 billion government loan in order to extend a railroad through the sacred Black Hills.

Thune represented the railroad in 2003 and 2004, after he left the U.S. House. He was paid $220,000, The New York Times reported.

When he went back to the Washington after being elected to the U.S. Senate, Thune was in a position to help his former client. I don't apologize, and never will, for working for South Dakota companies that are creating South Dakota jobs," he told The Times

A coalition of Lakota activists and non-Indian ranchers fought the DM&E expansion, saying it would harm the environment and sacred sites.

Get the Story:
Lobbyist Turns Senator but Twists Same Arms (The New York Times 2/28)
pwnyt

Relevant Links:
Defenders of the Black Hills - http://www.defendblackhills.org/defenders
DM&E - http://www.dmerail.com

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Lakota group seeks protection of Black Hills (09/19)
Protections for sacred sites called inadequate (06/19)
Support mixed on Black Hills railroad (11/27)
Black Hills rail gets approval (11/20)
Court battle seen over Black Hills rail (11/1)
Report due on Black Hills railroad (10/15)
Interior opposes railroad expansion (4/2)