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Republican leader defends letter to Gale Norton

A House Republican leader who represents a state with no Indian tribes is defending a letter that warned Interior Secretary Gale Norton of "reservation shopping."

Rep. Eric I. Cantor (R-Virginia), the House chief deputy whip, said he signed the letter [PDF] because he opposes gambling. But news reports show he did so after receiving money from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and/or his wife. Abramoff's staff also drafted the letter

In an e-mail to supporters reported by The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Cantor decried the attempt to link him to Abramoff. He called it an unfair attack by the "Washington liberal Democrat leadership," according to the paper.

The letter was followed by language in the 2004 Interior appropriations bill that warned against reservation shopping. Abramoff's staff helped draft the language.

Get the Story:
Cantor finds that high profile draws scrutiny (The Richmond Times-Dispatch 6/10)

Relevant Links:
Rep. Eric Cantor -

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GOP letter to Norton came after Abramoff sent checks (03/30)
Vitter responsible for anti-tribal appropriations rider (3/16)
Tribes ride fine line on Interior budget bill (11/6)