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Native American tribe sues Abramoff, Scanlon for alleged fraud

[JURIST] The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe [tribe website] filed a complaint [PDF text; press release, PDF] in a Texas federal district court on Wednesday alleging that former lobbyist Jack Abramoff [JURIST news archive], his associate Michael Scanlon [Wikipedia backgrounder] and former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed [campaign website] defrauded the tribe by lobbying to close its Texas casino nine months after it opened in November 2001. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants turned the Louisiana-Coushatta Tribe, which operated a nearby casino in Louisiana, against the plaintiffs, and "violated Texas lobbying laws, set up sham entities and waged a lobbying battle fraught with misrepresentations and lies" by lobbying the Texas legislature to "halt a Texas measure that would grant the ... Tribe the unquestionable right to game under Texas State law." As a result, the complaint alleges, "the funding for economic programs evaporated, over 300 jobs were lost in Polk county, and the ... Tribe has spent years struggling to recover and revitalize its economy through other means."

Reed has been trying to distance himself from the Abramoff scandal throughout his campaign for lieutenant governor of Georgia. A recent Senate report [JURIST report; PDF text] called links between Abramoff and Scanlon, a former aide to US Rep. Tom DeLay [JURIST news archive], "astonishing." Both Scanlon and Abramoff [JURIST reports] have pleaded guilty in a massive fraud probe. Reuters has more.

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