Monday, February 13, 2006

 

The Saga of Conrad Burns: his charity rejected (January 18, 2006)

In an effort to distance himself from the Abramoff scandals, Burns recently attempted to give $110,000 – “made up of contributions from Abramoff, his associates and his tribal clients” – to Native Americans in Montana. They rejected the money.
In recognition that much of the money distributed by Abramoff had been siphoned from Native Americans, Burns had tried to give the money to Indians in his home state. However, a meeting Tuesday evening of the Montana Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council rejected Burns' donation... ...tribal officials familiar with last night's vote said that they did not want to appear to have "bailed out the senator." They described the offer from Burns as being "tainted money."
Burns' cozy relationship to Jack Abramoff is exemplified in his instrumental role in getting the Michigan Saginaw Chippewa tribe a 2002, $3-million-dollar construction grant – over the objections of the Department of the Interior and within two months of receiving $75,000 in campaign donations from Abramoff’s tribal clients. The Saginaw Chippewa tribe is hardly a group that lacks resources: it is the financial beneficiary of Michigan gaming laws, and individual tribal members each earn $70,000 a year off the proceeds of gambling. Oh yeah: at least two Montana tribal schools also qualified for the grants. Burns’ justification for acquiring the grant for an out-of-state tribe over the needs of his own constituents?
Burns spokesman James Pendleton said...the senator pushed for the school program because he supports education. Even if Montana's two qualifying schools don't use the construction grants, they indirectly benefit because the grants free up more federal construction dollars for all tribal schools, he said.
Er...huh? In the meantime, Burns needs to unload $110K fast. Readers, please help the Senator by making suggestions as to where he can put his money. All hat and no cattle.
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