From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Speculators and Loopholes Win In New McCain Tribal Casino Bill – S 207

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
Alliance Against Reservation Shopping
PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA  98604
(360) 687-3087 -- Fax: (360) 687-2973
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE - Washington, DC 20003 
mike@hardimanconsulting.com -- 202-489-4893

Speculators and Loopholes Win In New McCain Tribal Casino Bill – S 2078

Urgent Action Required.

Senate Indian Affairs Markup This Wednesday, March 29th.  

S 2078 will hurt you if it is not fixed. 

****Action Items below:

Call both your Senators Monday and Tuesday to oppose the grandfather clause and insist that the exceptions be taken out of S 2078, the new tribal casino bill that will grandfather in speculators and foreign investors.   You can call any Senator at (202) 224-3121.  Urge your Senators to insist that the grandfather clause, loopholes, exceptions, special deals be taken out.  

Make sure you call Senator John McCain (R-AZ) no matter where you live. 

Most of the Abramoff lobbying scandal that has consumed Congress the past few months is about Tribal gaming.  A lot of it is about Tribes engaging in reservation shopping.  

Reservation shopping is where a tribe crosses state lines or goes away from their traditional aboriginal lands and away from any reservation in order to get their casino closer to an Interstate highway near a population center.  

How big is the problem?  Representative Richard Pombo (R-CA) held a hearing a week ago in the House Resources Committee which documented that there are not just a few new casinos in the pipeline but hundreds at various stages of the process.

That means that your community could end up with one or more giant tribal casinos that do not pay taxes, obey state or local laws, and often damage local communities with the ills of gambling like high crime, foreclosures, bankruptcies, and gambling addiction.   These casinos take money but don’t give much to the community.  Except in the political process where local politicians are so afraid of them that few local decisions are made without the tribes consent. 

The key here is choice.  If a community does not want a casino, it should have the ability to stop it.  But that is not how the law is written now.  Tribal casinos can be plunked down pretty much anywhere they want regardless of local custom and culture.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988 was supposed to control this process and stop the massive expansion of casinos and keep them on traditional reservations.  

But the bill allowed exceptions.  And those exceptions have erupted into a massive expansion of new casinos around the country with the prospect of hundreds more damaging our communities.

They say those that fail to remember history are bound to repeat it.  The new McCain Bill, S 2078, intended to update the 1988 IGRA law and close the loopholes, will actually grandfather many of these new proposed casinos into the process so they can go forward regardless of how the local community feels about them.

Most new casinos now in the process are driven by speculators like Donald Trump.  These wealthy investors, many from foreign countries, make deals with the local Indian Tribe to provide them with seed money, lawyers, lobbyists and financing to get them through the process.  Of course they often take most of the casino money.

McCain and other members of Congress want to play fair with Tribes who are already in the process.  But what about the local communities?  Most of these tribes won’t lose because the money already expended comes form speculators.  These speculators have no vested rights.  They took risks.  They are used to losing.  They are called speculators because they take big risks, and big losses and often win huge profits.  But local communities should not suffer at their hands.

Congress needs to get a grip on these loopholes and stop the exceptions and grandfather clause.   

The McCain Bill fails to adequately define reservation shopping and does little   about two huge exceptions, the Initial Reservation and Restored Lands exceptions.   It grandfathers in many casinos now in the process.  When Congress leaves the door open with grandfather clauses and exceptions, the tribes and their lawyers will find a way to drive in.

Senator McCain plans to mark up his bill, S 2078, in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee next Wednesday, March 29th.  The Committee needs to delay this process until they fix their bill and close the exceptions, special deals, grandfather clause and loopholes.

As long as Congress continues to provide for grandfather clauses, loopholes, exceptions, and special deals, speculators will continue to pour money into funding tribes for new casinos, endangering your community. And the bill has not even been voted on by Congress yet.  

Wait until others Senator start adding their loopholes.  Loopholes lead to more loopholes.  There will never be an end.   There must be no grandfather clause and no loopholes.   It has to stop.  Stop the speculators now.  

*****Action Items:

-----1.  Call Senator John McCain’s office to urge his staff to remove the grandfather clause and all the exceptions and special deal openings for speculators.  Urge him to oppose reservation shopping within states.  The bill number is      S 2078.  Call (202) 224-2251.  Fax: (202) 224-5429.  E-mail:  John_mccain@mccain.senate.gov

-----2.  Call, fax or e-mail both your Senators to urge them to oppose these new loopholes, exceptions and grandfather clause included in S 2078.  Don’t allow speculators to destroy your community.  Also ask them to oppose reservation shopping in your area.  Ask them to call Senator McCain to urge him to drop the grandfather clause and all the special deals for speculators in S 2078.   All Senators may be called at (202) 224-3121.

-----3.  Make sure you call and pay special attention to the Senators on the Indian Affairs Committee.  Here are their names and contact information.

John McCain (R-AZ) – (202) 224-2235 – Fax: (202) 228-2862
Pete Domenici (R-NM) -- (202) 224-6621 – Fax: (202) 228- 3261
Craig Thomas (R-WY) – (202) 224-6441 – Fax: (2020 224-1724
Gordon Smith (R-OR) – (202) 224-3753 – Fax: (202) 228-3997
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) – (202) 224-6665 – Fax: (202) 224-5301
Michael Crapo (R-ID) – (202) 224-6142 – Fax: (202) 228-1375
Richard Burr (R-NC) --  (202) 224-3154 – Fax: (202) 228-2981
Tom Coburn (R-OK) – (202) 224-5754 – Fax: (202) 224-6008

Byron Dorgan (D-ND) – (202) 224- 2552 – Fax: (202) 224-1193
Daniel Inouye (D-HI) – (202) 224-3934 – Fax:  (808) 541-2549
Kent Conrad (D-ND) – (202) 224-2043 – Fax: (2020 224-7776
Daniel Akaka (D-HI)  -- (202) 224-6363 – Fax: (202) 224-2126
Tim Johnson (D-SD) – (202) 224-5842 – Fax:  (202) 228-5765
Maria Cantwell (D-WA) – (202) 224-3441 – Fax: (2020 228-0514

Please forward this message as widely as possible.  


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