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Abramoff Scandal
Sandia Pueblo leaders mum on Abramoff relationship

Leaders of Sandia Pueblo in New Mexico won't comment on disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's role in the settlement of the tribe's land claim.

The tribe hired Abramoff and his firm in April 2002 to "Secure passage of Sandia Mountain settlement legislation," according to Senate documents [Link]. Less than a year later, the tribe won passage of the bill and reclaimed legal rights to 10,000 acres of the mountain.

There is little in the public record that suggests Abramoff and his firm got the bill through Congress. Sen. Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) said he was never lobbied on the issue by Abramoff. Domenici sponsored and supported the bill along with Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico) are all parties in the dispute -- landowners, local governments -- agreed on the settlement.

But the tribe apparently saw some value in Abramoff's services. In 2003, the tribe Greenberg Traurig for "Full representation" before Congress, although Abramoff's name stopped appearing on lobbying documents. The tribe ended its relationship with the firm in 2004, the year the scandal broke.

"Lobbying is a new game for Indian tribes," Lawrence Gutierrez, the tribe's new governor, told The Denver Post. "We didn't create it. We are using the system as someone else developed it."

Like the other tribes involved in the scandal, Sandia Pueblo also hired Michael Scanlon, Abramoff's former business partner, but was never told the two had a financial relationship. Abramoff and Scanlon pleaded guilty to defrauding the tribes by hiding their secret arrangement.

Get the Story:
Duped by Abramoff, tribe still smiling (The Denver Post 2/5)

Relevant Links:
Sandia Pueblo -

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