Advertise:   712.224.5420

Abramoff Scandal
Abramoff still an issue for Montana politicians

Montana is a long way from Washington, D.C., and the scandal involving Jack Abramoff but the disgraced lobbyist is still playing a role in Montana politics.

Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Montana) returned $150,000 in Abramoff-related donations after being hammered by Democrats and the press. One in-state newspaper called for him not to seek re-election this year.

The Montana Democratic Party has now asked the Senate Ethics Committee to clarify whether Burns is part of the Department of Justice's investigation of Abramoff. If not, the Democrats want the committee to investigate Burns.

But Montana Republicans are seizing on connections that Democrats have to Abramoff. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana) and the Montana Democratic Party returned $24,000 in Abramoff-related donations earlier this week as did Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Montana). Baucus is also reimbursing the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a former Abramoff client, for a fundraiser.

The lawmakers returned the money they received from former tribal clients of Abramoff to the tribes. Burns gave the money he received from Abramoff to an unnamed Native charity. Baucus is giving his Abramoff cash to the seven tribal colleges in Montana. Rehberg is donating his Abramoff money to domestic violence centers on the Fort Peck Reservation and the Fort Belknap Reservation.

Meanwhile, Burns has signed on as a co-sponsor to lobbying reform legislation that was introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, last week.

Get the Story:
Abramoff gifts gone, but debate remains (The Great Falls Tribune 12/21)
Baucus, Demos giving Abramoff funds to charity (The Helena Independent Record 12/20)
Burns signs on to McCain lobbying legislation (AP 12/20)

Relevant Links:
Sen. Conard Burns -
Montana Democratic Party -

Related Stories:
Sen. Baucus returns $19K in Abramoff donations (12/20)
Another Republican returns Abramoff donations (12/19)
Burns to return $150K in Abramoff donations (12/16)
Editorial: Burns should return Abramoff donations (12/15)
Burns already spent donations from Abramoff (12/14)
Former Burns aide talks with Abramoff investigators (12/13)
Editorial: Don't hate Burns, hate the system (12/12)
Burns wishes Abramoff had 'never been born' (12/9)
Opinion: Burns worried about public opinion (12/9)
Sen. Burns to launch Abramoff offensive in January (12/8)
Sen. Burns wants name cleared in Abramoff probe (12/7)
Staffer for Sen. Burns went to work for Abramoff (12/05)
Ex-Abramoff associate charged in Montana for poaching (08/19)
Sen. Burns took $34K from ex-Abramoff client (11/30)
Abramoff probe spreads to members of Congress (11/28)
Abramoff probe looking into Congress, Bush (11/25)
Montana Democrats to run ads against Burns (11/22)
Ex-Abramoff associate charged in Montana for poaching (08/19)
Democrats to make change to Burns, Abramoff ad (08/10)
Democrat ad criticizes Burns for ties to Abramoff (8/9)
Democrats received donations from Abramoff tribes (06/03)
Bloomberg: Abramoff tribes gave $1.4M to Congress (05/19)
Sen. Burns: Support for Montana tribes is known (04/18)
Burns says Michigan delegation backed school funds (04/04)
Editorial: Burns has chance to restore Indian funds (3/31)
Democrats want Burns to return tribal donations (03/29)
Burns denies wrongdoing for helping Abramoff client (03/24)
Chairman: Montana tribes support Senator Burns (3/18)
Editorial: Facts don't look good for Senator Burns (03/14)
Editorial: Burns needs better story on Abramoff flap (3/8)
Firm offers $9M refund to Saginaw Chippewa Tribe (3/7)
Editorial: A 'Super Bowl' earmark for tribe (3/7)
Editorial: Burns 'enriched' by Abramoff and tribes (3/7)
Horse Sense: Burns and Baucus 'cozy' with lobbyists (3/7)
Burns promises cooperation with Abramoff probe (3/4)
Editorial: Who do you work for, Senator Burns? (3/4)
Burns looking into Abramoff ties, Dorgan denies link (3/2)
Burns, Dorgan backed $3M grant for Abramoff client (3/1)
Tribal lobbying scandal hurts ex-Abramoff firm (02/17)
Sag Chip recall targets anti-Abramoff tribal leaders (02/11)
High-priced lobbyist scam linked to lawmakers (11/18)
Documents detail lobbyists' role in tribal elections (10/04)
More hearings slated in tribal lobbyist scandal (09/30)
Senate hearing on tribal lobbying probe set (8/26)
Saginaw Chippewa leader who paid lobbyists ousted (06/04)
Indian Country awaits outcome of lobbying probe (05/18)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe wonders where $14M went (04/20)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe hires new lobbying firm (03/09)
GOP lobbyist scores big with tribes (04/03)
Embattled tribe gets new lobbyist (12/13)