Abramoff Investigated For Defrauding Tribes
Submitted by Ken Lynch
WASHINGTON (AP) - Lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a close associate of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, says his efforts on behalf of American Indian tribes were well worth the multimillion-dollar fees he charged.
Abramoff is under investigation for his work involving the tribes' casino interests.In an interview with Time magazine, he also said he regretted the language he used to describe his Indian clients in e-mails, saying the words were ``more common to a drill sergeant or a football coach.''In the messages, he referred to his Indian clients as monkeys, troglodytes, morons and the 'stupidest idiots in the land'."
Abramoff and associate Michael Scanlon have collected at least $66 million from six tribes, including the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. A federal grand jury and the Senate Indian Affairs Committee are investigating allegations that they defrauded the tribal clients of millions of dollars.
Scanlon is a former aide to DeLay, R-Texas. House Democrats are seeking an ethics inquiry into DeLay's acceptance of special interest-financed trips arranged by Abramoff.
"The return on investment for these tribes, and all my clients, is far better than anything they or we could have imagined,'' Abramoff told Time. "They realize that spending millions to save billions is just good business.''
Reports show the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and three other tribes each paid Abramoff $180,000 monthly. The Choctaws alone paid him $11 million since 1998.
NATIVE WINS NATIONAL HEALTH AWARD
Bonny Beach, a Cherokee/Cheyenne and board treasurer for the American Indian Prevention Coalition in Phoenix is among the ten individuals singled out for their work to improve community health. She will receive $120,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leadership Program.
She established a non-profit agency to curb alcoholism, substance abuse and violence among young adults. In 1997, Beach co-founded the American Indian Prevention Coalition that later developed NDNS4Wellness Behavioral Health Agency.
The agency includes a 30-bed residential treatment program to help teenagers break alcohol and drug habits. It also treats about 75 youths each week through an outpatient clinic. In addition, the agency provides education and prevention programs at five high schools throughout the Phoenix area.
It is preparing to open a workforce development center called Pathfinders that will employ 18-year olds to make custom embroidery, leather and printed products.
Beach said the goal of the American Indian Prevention Coalition is to improve the health of Native Americans in part by “restoring their cultural and spiritual traditions”.
This article has been edited for length and content from a May 23rd story in The Arizona Republic bylined Kerry Fehr-Snyder.
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