Saturday, January 28, 2006

Abramoff Directs Contributions to Republicans

Previously I posted that the Saginaw Chippew Indian Tribe showed a dramatic change in their political contribution habits after hiring Jack Abramoff. It appears the same is true of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the first tribe to hire him.

The Tribe hired Jack Abramoff in 1995. In the 1996 election cycle they obviously favored Democrats with a soft money contribution to the DNC of $25,000 and only $5000 in soft money to the NRCCC that same year. There were only two individual campaign contributions made and they were to Barbara Boxer and John Conyers, both Democrats.

There were no contributions made by the tribe in the 1998 election cycle. This strikes me as odd since they had already retained the services of Jack Abramoff. It appears during this time that Abramoff wasn't directing any contributions by the tribe to Republicans or Democrats. Perhaps it was because his scheme with Michael Scanlon to play the tribes against each other hadn't started taking shape.

In the 2000 election cycle all of that changed. The Mississippi Choctaw, a tribe that had previously shown a desire to give their money to Democrats, started giving large sums of money to Republicans. In this election cycle they gave $226, 750 to Republican candidates, PACs and committees and only $60,000 to Democrat candidates, PACs and committees.

The following cycle these contributions jumped even higher for both parties with the level of giving being much higher for Republicans. The Tribe gave $488,000 in federal and non-federal contributions to Republicans and $295,750 to Democrats with the number of Republicans receiving contributions being almost three times that of Democrats.

The final election cycle when Jack Abramoff had influence over the Tribe was the 2004 cycle. He resigned from Greenberg Traurig in early 2004. With Abramoff's exit in the middle of this cycle there is a reduction in Republican contributions. They received a total of $215,167. Democrats received $151,023. One interesting change is the Tribe gave $100,000 to the Republican Governor's Association and $150,000 to the Democratic Governor's Association during this cycle.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians began their political involvement by giving almost exclusively to Democrats. Contributions made in the year Abramoff's influence was waning also favored Democrats and these two facts combined makes it clear to me that this tribe naturally favored Democrats for their financial gifts.

The American Prospect has commissioned the firm Dwight L. Morris and Associates to study these same numbers. While their study is very professional and has a more extensive scope our conclusions have been the same. All of this data is free to those who wish to dig around in FEC filings. You can also obtain some free information from FECinfo. Open Secrets has also compiled a great deal of campaign finance information that is free to the public.


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