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Both sides fighting tribe have ties to Abramoff

The Jena Band of Choctaw Indians is caught in the middle of a partisan feud in Louisiana where both sides have ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Republican Sen. David Vitter has been fighting the tribe's plans for a casino since 2002. He denies knowing the campaign was backed by an Abramoff client yet he allowed Abramoff to host a fundraiser just as Congress was considering language he inserted into the Interior appropriations bill against the Jena Band.

Democrat Gov. Kathleen Blanco is refusing to meet with the tribe to discuss gaming and other related issues. But her main lobbyist in Washington, D.C., Stephanie Leger, used to work with Abramoff, the Associated Press reports, and was "key source" for an article detailing Abramoff's campaign against the Jena Band.

Vitter and Blanco have been trading barbs in the media over the tribe's plans, with Vitter calling on Blanco not to negotiate a deal and Blanco urging Vitter to do something at the federal level.

Get the Story:
Behind the Blanco-Vitter feud: the Washington backstory (AP 3/24)

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