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6/23/2006 

"Gimme Five" - Investigation of Tribal Lobbying Matters

Final Report Before the Committee on Indian Affairs, U.S. Congress, June 22, 2006:
Page 175

At the Committee’s November 17, 2004, hearing, [Tigua representative Marc] Schwartz testified, “As the election reform measure languished throughout the summer, Abramoff and Scanlon continued to report on substantial progress and a virtual guarantee of success. During that time, I requested a meeting between tribal representatives and Congressman Ney.” Abramoff set up the meeting for early August 2002.

According to Schwartz, Abramoff claimed that “Congressman Ney did not want his trip to Scotland brought up, as he would show his appreciation for the Tribe later.” On August 14, 2002, representatives of the Tigua and Alabama-Coushatta met with Congressman Ney in Washington, D.C. Both Schwartz and [Tigua Lt. Governor Carlos] Hisa recalled that the meeting lasted approximately one-and-a-half hours. In testimony before the Committee, Schwartz described Congressman Ney as “extremely animated about Mr. Abramoff and his ability as a representative lobbyist in the city.” According to Schwartz, Congressman Ney spoke about his district, the Tigua’s plight, the political ramifications for Republicans of the Tigua casino closing, and the federal legislative process, especially the process by which committee reports are done.

Schwartz also told the Committee that Congressman Ney gave them assurances that he was working to help the Tigua. Thereafter, Schwartz recalled Congressman Ney giving Lt. Governor Hisa and another tribal council member a tour of his hearing room. According to Lt. Governor Hisa, at that meeting (which was attended by not only Hisa but also Schwartz, Tribal Council Member Raul Gutierrez, Abramoff and Congressman Ney) Congressman Ney said that “everyone who needs to be involved, is on board.” Congressman Ney said that he and Senator Dodd were committed to getting the language in the bill and that he did not foresee any problem with the Tigua-related provision, Hisa recalled. Hisa also remembered that, about Abramoff, Congressman Ney said that he was a “good friend”; “you’re working with the right guy;” and “this is the man to work with for changes in Washington.”

According to Schwartz, Congressman Ney’s chief of staff gave Abramoff a huge bear hug. Schwartz recalled that Congressman Ney went out of his way to say he would take care of the Tigua’s problems and kept calling the Tigua “deserving.”

During his interview with Committee staff, Congressman Ney said he was not familiar with the Tigua. He could not recall ever meeting with any member of the Tigua. When asked about a possible two-hour meeting, Congressman Ney said he “wouldn’t even meet with the President for two hours.” After the interview, counsel to Congressman Ney, who was present during the interview, indicated that, according to an internal email describing Congressman Ney’s calendar for the relevant period, a meeting was scheduled in Congressman Ney’s office with the “Taqua,” from 11:00 - 11:30 a.m.
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