Last month, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Center for Responsive Politics Lawrence Noble testified to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee that since 1989 Indian tribes have contributed almost $29.9 million in hard and soft money to federal candidates and political action committees (PACs), with 65% going to Democrats and 35% to Republicans. Noble also noted that 98.9% of all Indian donations came from tribes with casinos. Below is how the top 10 casino-owning tribes have directed their donations for the 2006 election cycle by party, as compiled by OpenSecrets.org.
10. Barona Band of Mission Indians
The San Diego tribe gave $1,000 to Representatives David Dreier (R.-Calif.) and Doris Matsui (D.-Calif.) and $30,000 to the NRSC.
9. Gila River Indian Community
$25,000 was directed to the DSCC. Based in Sacaton, Ariz., the tribe owns Gila Gaming Enterprise, Inc., which operates three gaming facilities: Vee Quiva, Wild Horse Pass and Lone Butte.
8. Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
All of the North Carolina tribe’s donations were given to PACs. Their gaming facility, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel, is currently planning a $254-million expansion.
7. San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
The California tribe has directed $4,000 to Rep. Pombo, $3,000 to Rep. Joe Baca (D.-Calif) and $1,000 to Rep. Rick Renzi (R.-Ariz.).
6. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Gave $25,000 to the NRSC and $4,000 to Rep. Richard Pombo (R.-Calif.).
5. Pechanga Band of Mission Indians
Owns a 188,000 square-foot gaming facility in Southern California. All of the tribe’s contributions were directed to PACs.
4. Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe
Formerly represented by lobbyist Jack Abramoff, gave $25,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and operates Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
3. Mashantucket Pequot Tribes
Owners of the huge Foxwood Resort Casino in Connecticut, the home state of Rep. Chris Shays (R.-Conn.), co-author of the 2002 campaign finance reform bill that exempts Indian nations from aggregate contribution limits.
2. Viejas Band of Mission Indians
Gave $26,700 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), $5,000 to the Democratic Central Committee of Washington and $4,200 to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.).
1. Morongo Band of Mission Indians
Located in California’s Riverside County, gave $1,000 each to Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.), Rep. Adam Schiff (D.-Calif.) and Rep. Don Manzullo (R.-Ill.).