In an editorial last week, the Stockton Record trumpeted Richard Pombo’s proposed legislation prohibiting Indian tribes from reservation shopping. In a stunning display of either colossal stupidity or blinding dishonesty, they presented Pombo’s position in the following manner:
Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, has introduced his own legislation on Indian gaming at the national level. His House bill would curb so-called reservation shopping by preventing Indian tribes from acquiring property separate from land they own.The editorial goes on to crow about how this supposed willingness to act against the interests of his contributors will play well politically for Pombo by — I don’t know, demonstrating some sort of integrity?
Amending the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, it would stop the practice of distant tribes in remote locales buying up land in urban centers to build gambling facilities.
Tribal leaders aren't happy with Pombo's bill.
The legislation contradicts accusations that Pombo, chairman of the House Resources Committee, is influenced by tribal gaming groups because of campaign contributions.
The only problem with that analysis is that apparently the editors of the Stockton Record don’t bother to read the news. If they had bestirred themselves to pay any sort of attention to the Abramoff scandal, they would realize that the Indian tribes paying the big bucks to Abramoff and the Congressional representatives that he associated with (Pombo) were the ones who already had casinos near urban areas. They have been lobbying Pombo to protect their monopolies and to shut out impoverished tribes that have been unable to open casinos because they lack appropriate land holdings.
In naming Richard Pombo one of the 13 most corrupt members of Congress last fall, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) offered this explanation:
As chairman of the House Resources Committee, Rep. Pombo is responsible for tribal related legislation. As a result, Indian tribes have invested increasingly in Rep. Pombo’s political campaigns. From the creation of Rich PAC, Rep. Pombo’s leadership political action committee, in June 2003 through the end of May 2004, the PAC received $76,500 from tribes and more from individual tribal members and representatives. So far this year, 15 tribes have contributed a total of $71,000 to Rich PAC. This accounts for three out of every four dollars raised by the PAC since January. In total, Rep. Pombo’s campaign and leadership committees have collected $221,000 from tribes since 1999.Check out this list of Indian tribal donors for the 2006 campaign cycle. As a group, they’ve donated $87,400 to Richard Pombo to date. Try this simple exercise. Take the name of any one tribe at random and google it along with “casino.” In almost every case, you will find that the tribe making the donation already has a casino, and is contributing to bought-and-paid-for Pombo to protect their monopoly.
The tribal contributions have often coincided with House Resource Committee hearings on Indian issues. For example, to prevent the Menominee tribe from buying land in Kenosha, Wisconsin for an off–reservation casino, the Potawatomi, which enjoyed a monopoly on off reservation casinos with its Milwaukee gambling hall, gave nearly $6,000 to Rep. Pombo’s campaign. A spokesperson for the Potawatomi explained that they supported Rep. Pombo’s proposal to make it more difficult for other tribes to open off-reservation casinos in the future.
And all the Stockton Record can find to say is “The legislation contradicts accusations that Pombo, chairman of the House Resources Committee, is influenced by tribal gaming groups because of campaign contributions.
I wonder, could they be charged with an EUI — editorializing under the influence?