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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gambling McCain

JO BECKER and DON VAN NATTA Jr. have the goods on John McCain and Indian gaming, but for some reason, they bury the lede.

On page 2 of the article.

Down on the Coushattas reservation, bills related to the investigation kept coming. After firing Mr. Abramoff, the tribe hired Kent Hance, a lawyer and former Texas congressman who said he had been friends with Mr. McCain since the 1980s.


Records also show that Mr. Hance had Mr. Weaver — who was serving as Mr. McCain’s chief strategist — put on the tribe’s payroll from February to May 2005.

It is not precisely clear what role Mr. Weaver played for his $100,000 fee.

Mr. Stewart said Mr. Weaver was hired because “he had a lot of experience with the Senate, especially the new chairman, John McCain.” The Hance firm told the tribe in a letter that Mr. Weaver was hired to provide “representation for the tribe before the U.S. Senate.”

But Mr. Weaver never registered to lobby on the issue, and he has another explanation for his work.

“The Hance law firm retained me to assist them and their client in developing an aggressive crisis management and communications strategy,” Mr. Weaver said. “At no point was I asked by Kent Hance or anyone associated with him to set up meetings with anyone in or outside of government to discuss this, and if asked I would have summarily declined to do so.”

Oh my. These are the Coushattas ground zero of the Abramoff scandal paying a McCain political aid $100,000 for who knows what while McCain is investigating Abramoff and them. And note Weaver's Rick Davis like defense. "I was close to McCain. They paid me. I didn't give them anything in particular for the money".

And why "meetings" wouldn't the Coushattas benefit more if McCain's strategist advised McCain to present them as victims (as he did and as they were) not bribers (which they also were).

Then there is the case of the tribe non-tribe the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation. Even jucier than Weaver, even further down in the article. The Schaghticokes wanted to use their new tribal status to open a third casino in Connecticut cutting into the business of the Pequots and Mohegans. Joe Leiberman was opposed. McCain held a hearing.

Chief Richard F. Velky of the Schaghticokes


said he felt worse when the e-mail messages between the tribe’s opponents and Mr. McCain’s staff surfaced in a federal lawsuit. “Is there a letter telling me how to address the senator to give me the best shot?” Mr. Velky asked. “No, there is not.”

After the hearing, Pablo E. Carrillo, who was Mr. McCain’s chief Abramoff investigator at the time, wrote to a Barbour Griffith & Rogers lobbyist, Brant Imperatore. “Your client’s side definitely got a good hearing record,” Mr. Carillo wrote, adding “you probably have a good sense” on where Mr. McCain “is headed on this.”

“Well done!” he added.

After that it just gets worse. Amazing stuff. What a crook.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For a summary of the Schaghticoke's appeal -- which was denied in September by a federal court judge -- see these stories:

For a full range of stories go to and search the archives for "Schaghticoke Tribal Nation" -- in quotation marks.