Advertise:   712.224.5420

Tribal political donation 'loophole' on the radar

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), the Republican who is proposing a moratorium on Indian gaming, plans to close the "loophole" that allows tribes to contribute freely to federal candidates and political action committees.

Under federal law, tribes are recognized as sovereigns. While they are subject to a $2,100 per candidate/committee per election limit, they can make an unlimited total amount of contributions. Since 2005, they have donated $25 million, according to PoliticalMoneyLine.

"There is no loophole," Jackie Johnson, the executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, told The Washington Post. "We're been working hard to show that tribes are unique. We're governments and don't fit into the 'organization' category."

The Democratic National Committee agrees and says Republicans are trying to blame tribes for the Jack Abramoff scandal. "Now, by trying to restrict their ability to participate in the political process, Republicans in Congress are attacking the tribes once again," said spokesperson Damien LaVera.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will enter the debate next Wednesday, February 8. "We will be having several more hearings on this entire issue of Indian gaming and also this issue of political involvement and contributions," Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the committee chairman, said yesterday.

Get the Story:
A Tribal Loophole For Campaign Gifts (The Washington Post 2/2)

Human Events Article:
McCain's Law Preserved Loophole for Tribal Contributions (Human Events Online January 29, 2006)

Federal Elections Commission Opinions:
Advisory Opinion 1999-32 (January 28, 2000) | Advisory Opinion 2000-05 (May 15, 2000) | Advisory Opinion 2005-01 (March 14, 2005)

More Advisory Opinion 2005-01 Documents:
Advisory Opinion Draft A and Draft B | Tribe's Request for Advisory Opinion

Relevant Links:
PoliticalMoneyLine -
Center for Responsive Politics -

Related Stories:
Tribal political donations at issue in Washington (1/31)
Republicans seek to close tribal donation 'loophole' (1/31)
Pombo has accepted more than $500K from tribes (1/30)
Bush won't release photos he took with Abramoff (1/27)
Tim Johnson: Don't tar tribes with Abramoff scandal (1/24)
McCain: A 'bipartisan' scandal in Washington (1/23)
Reform, gaming on agenda for members of Congress (1/20)
NIGA shies from Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal (1/19)
Bush mum on Abramoff contacts with White House (1/18)
Abramoff scandal claims another casualty (1/16)
Abramoff scandal a hot topic at gaming conference (1/13)
Abramoff pleads guilty in Washington lobbying scandal (01/04)
Burns to return $150K in Abramoff donations (12/16)
Bush discusses Abramoff tribal lobbying scandal (12/15)
McCain set to introduce lobbying reforms (12/15)
Coushatta Tribe made $330K in donations on same day (12/7)
McCain expects 'lots' of indictments over Abramoff (12/5)
Changes in tribal lobbying tactics discussed (12/5)
Dorgan vows to continue Abramoff lobbying probe (11/29)
Another Texas tribe involved in lobbying scandal (11/28)
Inside the BIA, according to Jack Abramoff (11/24)
Plea deal raises more questions about scandal (11/24)
Plea deal raises more questions about scandal (11/22)
Scanlon free to cooperate in lobbying probe (11/22)
Scanlon pleads guilty in lobbying probe (11/21)
Abramoff lobbying inquiry far from over (11/18)
Jack Abramoff lobbying probe touches DOI (10/26)
Pombo has received $90K from tribes this year (10/20)
Pombo collected $40K from tribes so far this year (04/25)
FEC ruling separates tribes from their businesses (03/14)
Pombo took $5K from tribe with bill before committee (07/19)
Pombo accepts money from tribes, tribal lobbyists (06/22)