A $100K check is bound to get SOMEBODY’S attention. Here’s The Arizona Daily Sun:
Just months after President Bush took office, the Republican Party accepted a $100,000 check from an Indian tribe seeking help in getting a meeting with Interior Secretary Gale Norton, according to internal GOP records.
After the check was sent, the lobbyist for the Agua Caliente Indian band sent a thank-you letter to the GOP suggesting Norton’s office was considering its meeting request. The leader of the tribe eventually got to air its concerns to the interior secretary during a congressional tour near the tribe’s home in Palm Springs, Calif.[…]
Unlike the poor Cheyenne-Arapaho tribe, the Agua Caliente band operates two casinos, is increasing its political donations and is replacing its two Washington lobbyists with 14 new ones, including Jack Abramoff, a longtime ally and friend of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. The tribe gave the GOP $120,000 last year, four times the amount it gave the Democratic Party.
In spring 2001, Agua Caliente chairman Richard Milanovich, a Republican, expressed an interest in joining Team 100, a roster of donors who contribute at least $100,000 each to the GOP.
RNC deputy director Jack Oliver, one of Bush’s key fund-raisers, agreed to meet after Team 100 handler Dee Dee Lancaster scrutinized the tribe’s past political contributions.
“The only donations found for 2000 cycle was $1,000 personal … to McCain,” Lancaster e-mailed Oliver on June 1, 2001, referring to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
“Let’s take it,” Oliver replied.
Oliver is now deputy finance director of Bush’s re-election campaign.[…]
Now How does Scott Dacey fit into this? Let’s read on:
[…] The tribe’s lobbyist at the time, Scott Dacey, recalls that rather than offering the tribe a meeting with Norton, the Interior Department suggested Milanovich meet with the No. 2 official at the department’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. Milanovich declined, but Dacey and lobbyists for other tribes proceeded with their meetings.
Milanovich and Norton subsequently forged a relationship. Milanovich was in a group that spent a day in January 2002 with Norton on a tour of the scenic Coachella Valley in California.
A news story about the visit said Milanovich and Norton discussed tribal issues, adding that as Norton was speaking to reporters, Milanovich stepped into the group and praised Norton for taking “positive steps.”