Norton also towed the line when acquiescing to GOP-favored influence peddlers like Jack Abramoff and his buddies in Congress (Blunt signed onto three letters on behalf of Abramoff) by denying reservation permits to certain Indian tribes that would have competed with Abramoff casino clients.
Here's a brief timeline from a past OA post concerning Blunt and his letters to Norton:
- September 2000 - Blunt requests GAO study on tribal recognition issues and simultaneously seeks a six month moratorium on further tribal recognition - protecting existing casinos from further competition.
- February 2002 - GAO report on tribal recognition issued.
- March 2002 - Blunt writes letter to Department of Interior citing the GAO report and expressed specific concerns about the Jenna Band of Choctaws and their status in Louisiana. The Jenna Band would have been competition for Abramoff's client with tribal recognition approval.
- March 2003 - Abramoff contributes to ROYB fund.
- May 2003 - Blunt sends another letter to Department of Interior Secretary Gale Norton regarding his concerns about Indian gaming and specifically the Jenna Band in Louisiana.
Of course, the mainstream media can't seem to find an audience for Abramoff these days, despite the fact that he's beginning to lash out at all his amnesiac pals in government.
The AP merely notes that "Norton leaves at a time when a major lobbying scandal involving Indian gaming licenses that required her consent looms over her agency, but there has been no indication of possible wrongdoing on her part."
Norton is smart to get out before results from the Abramoff investigation come to full bloom. I'm wondering if Roy has any fears here? I see that Blunt is drafting a bill regarding the Dubai fiasco that would require congressional oversight as the administration reviews foreign acquisitions, so at least he's come out of his room after the leadership spanking.