Friday, January 06, 2006
If you've been wondering where the Jack Abramoff money is going as Republicans rush to divest themselves of their ill-gotten gains, the NYTimes has done some initial reporting.
This raises some tough questions for Native American groups who are now scrambling to determine whether they have been somehow tainted by the Abramoff mess. Let's get something straight up front: Native American groups have the same right as anyone else in this country to donate money to political campaigns that they feel represent their interests. That goes for Democrats and Republicans alike.
Donations directly from specific tribal groups are not only proper, but it's just like the National Chamber of Commerce or the UAW or any other specific, targeted group that is trying to advance the interests of its members. It is the illegal scamming of the money and then the bribing of officials that Abramoff and his cronies did that is illegal.
It would be a shame if the Native American groups who were taken advantage of by the KStreet project were then shut out of the process by skittish politicians who were too afraid to explain the difference to their constituents. And even more of a shame if these groups who have already had to deal with Abramoff not doing the work he promised for them then being shut out of the very process in which they were trying to get a voice in the first place.
(Painting found on a wonderful site called First People. Some gorgeous artwork and a good resource for Native American cultural information. Fun place for exploration if you are interested.)