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DeLay, continued from page 17 The Coushattas had done considerably better with the lobbying firm of former Louisiana Senator Bennet Johnson, which charged them approximately $152,000 a year before Abramoff took over. The portly former senator also stuck to the basics of lobbying, avoiding the redistribution of wealth brought in by the $300 million-a-year casino operation that attracted Abramoff and Scanlon to the tiny sovereign nation in southwest Louisiana. If Kent Hance’s accountants never find the $1 million reportedly sent to the Eshkol Academy, they and the forensic accountants working for the federal task force in D.C. will find many other questionable entries. Some of the checks drawn on the Coushatta accounts are written to organizations that make Abramoff and Scanlon look like a regular Washington laugh riot. When I asked Hance about the $566,000 “contribution” to the American International Center, he said it is probably considerably larger”perhaps more than one million.” The center was a “think tank” housed in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, in a house owned by Scanlon. It was operated by a former yoga instructor and a former lifeguard, both beach buddies of Scanlon. It apparently served as a conduit to move money from Scanlon to Abramoff, with at least $1.5 million in Indian client money moving through the center to Greenberg Traurig. A separate $2.4 million in Indian gaming lobby fees was passed through the center to Ralph Reed, the political consultant who once directed the Christian Coalition. Reed was also hired by Abramoff and Scanlon. To keep these huge sums off the lobbyist disclosure pages in the Senate clerk’s office, Scanlon’s PR firm did the billing, then moved half the money to Abramoff, through companies or non-profit foundations they controlled. Abramoff moved so much money out of the Coushatta Nation that in an embarrassing e-mail released by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, he was incapable of explaining one $5 million transaction to his bewildered accountant. There will be more to explain. The largest contribution given to any single member of Congress, detailed in a $283,000 list of “Coushatta requests” approved by Lovelin Poncho in 2002 \(and obtained by the is $30,000 to DeLay’s two political action committees: $20,000 to Americans for a Republican Majority and $10,000 to Texans for a Republican Majority. Abramoff later ordered the TRMPAC check voided and a new check written to America 21, of Franklin, Tennessee. You would think that Scanlon would have learned something about the risk of private e-mails being made public. The 90-page-plus documents released by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee will probably serve as a lesson this time \(as will various other e-mails, including Abramoff’s correspondence with together what is essentially a narrative, crafted out of correspondence and documents that were subpoenaed and, in the case of an embarrassed Greenberg Traurig, willingly turned over to committee investigators. The Senate narrative begins with a Scanlon e-mail to Abramoff that suggests building up Capitol Campaign Strategies, flipping it, and splitting the profits. “Bottom line: If you help me get CCS a client base of $3 million a year, I will get the clients served, and the firm acquired at $9 million?’ It proceeds though racquet-ball dates, an unabashed list of $21 million in “Sub Rosa Payments by CCS [Capitol Campaign Strategies] to Abramoff,” and concludes with Abramoff pleading with Scanlon to extract more money from the Coushattas. “Did we get the Coushatta money? Can you please, please get it written to the Eshkol Academy? Tell them that’s our front group to cover some of this. OK?” Much of the electronic correspondence between the two partners is enlivened by racial slurs that make Richard Nixon’s closeted, gentile Jew-bashing seem genteel. Indian clients are referred to as “troglodytes;’ ‘C monkeys?’ “stupid mofos,” “idiots;’ and \(\(morons.” The Senate committee docs include a note about DeLay’s role in raising money for the front foundation that funded Abramoff’s school. “Mr. DeLay assists in raising money for a youth activity organization called the Capital Athletic Foundation,” reads a line in one memo. “The DeLay thing is played up a lot in terms of our relationship;’ Abramoff told a friendly reporter at the Washington Business Forward. “The fact is when I pitch a client, I never mention Tom DeLay.” Tribal leaders must have heard something wrong. The Saginaw Chippewas report that Abramoff came in promising access to DeLay. Saginaw Chippewa tribal attorney Henry Buffalo told federal investigators that council members were convinced that even their contributions were tied to DeLay. If they gave money, Buffalo told The Washington Post, “Mr. DeLay would recognize that in some way. Mr. DeLay would be able to look on that more favorably than not?’ Langley, who listened as a member of the Coushatta tribal council to Abramoff’s first pitch, said it was all about DeLay. “They told us that when we hired them we were getting access to Tom DeLay’s Washington network?’ Langley said. “They talked about their relationship to DeLay and how he would be helpful to us.” DeLay did deliver for the Indians when he defeated the Indian casino tax bill drafted by Houston Republican Bill Archer in 1997 before Abramoff and Scanlon got into the Indian business. The two men could point to that and suggest they could get DeLay to do more. By 2003, Abramoff prevailed upon DeLay to sign a letter to Interior Secretary Gale Norton, stating his opposition to a Mississippi Choctaw casino in Louisiana that would have cut into the Coushattas’ revenue. Cosigning the letter with DeLay was House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Whip Roy Blunt, both of whom had served as DeLay’s deputy whips prior to 1995. It was an unprecedented act of the entire House leadership team on behalf of one Indian tribe located in a state represented by none of the elected officials who signed the letter. Langley admits that Abramoff and Scanlon might have provided some help in Washington. But he contends they were so far out of the loop in Louisiana 18 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11/19/04