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Abramoff tried to hire Griles at lobbying firm

Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff tried to get his lobbying firm to hire former Interior deputy secretary J. Steven Griles, The Washington Post reports.

The negotiations occurred in late 2003, just as the Interior Department was considering a casino proposed by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians. Abramoff fought the casino because it would compete with the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, one of his wealthy clients.

Abramoff told associates that Griles was "committed" to blocking the casino, The Post reported. Abramoff used Italia Federici, the president of a Republican group, to relay messages about the project to Griles, the paper said.

Griles didn't make any decisions on the project, a spokesperson at his new lobbying firm said. He formed a partnership with former U.S. Rep. George R. Nethercutt (R-Washington), and White House national energy policy director Andrew D. Lundquist. Their clients include the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, according to Senate records [Registration Form].

The contacts between Abramoff and Interior are being investigated by the Interior Department's Inspector General and a federal task force for possible conflict-of-interest violations. Griles was previously investigated for contacts with former lobbying clients.

Get the Story:
Abramoff Cited Aid Of Interior Official (The Washington Post 8/28)
Lobbyist referred to aid from Interior official (The Arizona Republic 8/29)

Inspector General Report:
J. Steven Griles Investigation (March 2004)

From the Indianz.Com Archive:
Norton stripping BIA of trust duties (November 16, 2001) | Tribal leaders in uproar over proposal (November 16, 2001) | Griles taking lead on trust reform (November 5, 2001)

Indianz.Com Profile:
Deputy Secretary: J. Steven Griles (3/9)

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