Advertise:   712.224.5420

Vitter responsible for anti-tribal appropriations rider

Former Congressman and current Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana) was responsible for language in an appropriations bill that discouraged approval of an off-reservation casino that was opposed by Jack Abramoff's clients, Raw Story reports.

Vitter confirmed that his staff worked with Abramoff to draft the language against the Jena Band of Choctaws. At the time, the landless tribe was seeking federal approval to acquire land for gaming purposes, an effort opposed the Coushatta Tribe, one of Abramoff's clients.

But Vitter said his staff also consulted other "experts" in gaming law before inserting the provision in the 2004 Interior appropriations bill. He denies any "quid pro quo" with Abramoff even though Abramoff held a fundraiser for him on September 9, 2003 -- just as the bill was being considered by Congress.

The language was contained in the conference committee report for the bill. [PDF] It singled out the Jena Band and -- at the insistence of Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-New York) -- the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Okahoma.
The managers are concerned about the growing number of tribes, both landless and with an existing reservation, that are at-tempting to claim reservation rights that would allow them to en-gage in gaming operations in States where they have no reserva-tion or trust land status. For example, the Seneca-Cayuga tribe of Oklahoma is attempting to open a gaming operation in the State of New York. The Jena Band of Choctaw in Louisiana is attempt-ing to take land into trust for gaming purposes in an area of Lou-isiana that is outside their traditional service area. Trust status for gaming purposes on non-contiguous lands requires that a tribe en-gage in a rigorous approval process requiring approval by the Gov-ernor of an affected State as well as input and support from the local community. The managers expect the Department of the Inte-rior and the National Indian Gaming Commission to implement fully the existing rules and regulations governing these types of gaming operations.

Get the Story:
Capitol Hill daily covers Raw Story exclusive on fallen lobbyist’s fundraiser for Sen. Vitter (Raw Story 3/16)
Scandal surrounding lobbyist linked to DeLay ensnares two more Republican congressmen (Raw Story 3/15)

Relevant Links:
Jena Band of Choctaw Indians -
Coushatta Tribe -
Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy -

Related Stories:
Griles fought casino opposed by Abramoff client (3/14)
Tribe gave $75K to group founded by Norton (3/14)
DOI investigates contacts with group started by Norton (03/03)
Vitter denies helping Abramoff's former client (03/02)
Report: Former Norton organization subpoenaed (3/1)
Tribes gave $175K to group founded by Norton (2/28)
Coushatta Tribe sues ex-lobbyists for $32M (11/17)
Vitter 'conned' by group opposing tribe (11/12)
Senate panel asks Coushatta Tribe for tapes (10/27)
Ralph Reed paid $4.1M to oppose tribes (10/26)
Congressman denies knowing of tribe's backing (10/18)
Congressman's anti-gaming push backed by tribe (10/15)
Coushattas used lobbyists to spy on tribes, critics (09/13)
Coushatta member threatened over recall effort (08/09)
Coushatta treasurer accuses NIGC of lax oversight (04/12)
Coushatta leaders used tribal money to pay lobbyists (4/8)
Coushatta Tribe paid $32M to lobbyist Jack Abramoff (4/6)
Congressman builds opposition to Choctaw tribe (02/19)
Lawmaker seeks public input on casino plans (01/28)
Congressman to fight Jena casino proposal (01/23)
Editorial: Say no to tribal casino proposal (01/13)
Governor supports tribe's land request (01/10)
Choctaw Tribe still looking for land (09/05)
Still flapping over Jena compact (4/5)
Jena Choctaws still shopping (4/3)
Jena Choctaws continue search (3/11)
Choctaw casino compact rejected (3/8)
Jena casino news (3/8)
Jena casino compact denied (3/7)
Delay in Choctaw decision sought (3/7)
La. senator opposes Choctaw casino (3/5)
Norton lobbied on Choctaw casino (2/28)
Foster, Choctaw for casino (2/27)
La. Choctaws facing opposition (2/22)
Jena Choctaw plan large casino (2/7)
Choctaw seeking Louisiana casino (2/6)
AP: Choctaw compact approved (2/5)