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Coushattas used lobbyists to spy on tribes, critics

The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana paid Washington lobbyists $525,000 to spy on rival tribes, tribal members the owner of a racetrack, The Lake Charles American Press reported.

The tribe gave the money to public relations consultant Michael Scanlon. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee has been investigating Scanlon and lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

According to The American Press, Scanlon's Capitol Campaign Strategies was paid to conduct background checks, site visits, physical surveillance from Louisiana to Washington, D.C., picture taking and videotaping of rivals. The paper said that Scanlon received $150,000 to monitor other Coushattas, $250,000 to monitor the Jena Band of Choctaws of Louisiana and $100,000 to monitor the Alabama Coushatta Tribe of Texas and $25,000 to monitor former Delta Downs Racetrack owner Shawn Scott.

In total, the Coushatta Tribe paid Scanlon between $18 million to $21 million over three years. Tribal officials defended their spending.

The Senate committee is holding a hearing September 29 on the matter.

Get the Story:
Coushattas paid $525,000 for eye on other tribes, own members (AP 9/12)
Coushatta tribe attracts interest in Washington (The Baton Rouge Advocate 9/13)

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