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Griles, Rossetti to testify on Coushatta Tribe

Two former Interior Department officials are slated to testify today about the Coushatta Tribe's involvement in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

Former deputy secretary J. Steven Griles and former counselor Michael Rossetti are on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee's witness list. Both were appointees of President Bush but left the administration to join lobbying firms.

At Interior, Griles tried to stop a casino project that was opposed by the Coushattas. Rossetti claims he challenged Griles about his opposition and that Griles admitted his information probably came from Abramoff.

Also called to testify is Italia Federici, a close associate of Interior Secretary Gale Norton. Federici, the head of a Republican environmental group that was started by Norton, repeatedly contacted Griles and other Interior officials about Abramoff's clients.

However, Federici will not appear due to a scheduling conflict, her lawyer told The New York Times. The lawyer said Federici has been interviewed by federal investigators who are probing Abramoff's lobbying work but that she is not a target.

The Coushatta Tribe spend $32 million on Abramoff and Michael Scanlon, a public relations executive. The leaders who hired Abramoff and Scanlon have since been voted out of office. Former vice chairman William Worfel is scheduled to testify today.

Kevin Sickey, the new chairman, and David Sickey, a council member, are also on the witness list [Link].

The hearing begins at 9:30am. A live video link can be found at An audio feed can be found at

Get the Story:
Senators to Probe Lobbyist's Activities (The Wall Street Journal 11/2)
Probe into Indian lobbying turns to actions by Interior (The Arizona Republic 11/2)
Inquiry on Lobbyist Widens to Senior Officials; Senate Hearing Is Today (The New York Times 11/2)
Norton aide to speak on Abramoff (The Denver Post 11/2)
Gaming probe set to resume today (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 11/2)
Coushatta tribal leaders to testify in lobbyist probe (AP 11/2)
Former Bush official called to testify in Abramoff hearing Weds. (Raw Story 11/1)

Relevant Documents:
CREA Memo to Interior (February 21, 2002)

Relevant Links:
Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy -
Coushatta Tribe -

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Norton associate to testify at Abramoff hearing (10/28)
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