Bloomberg on Sea Change on Indian Gaming from Bush’s Interior to Obama’a Interior


An excerpt:

Skibine said the Bush administration was in the thick of a lawsuit in which tribes sued the federal government for mismanaging reservation land and were reluctant to take more into trust — a precursor to any reservation gaming project that isn’t located on the tribe’s traditional grounds.

The Bush White House was also operating in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, in which Capitol Hill aides and Republican advocates secretly pitted tribes and Christian groups against one another while raking in millions.

The administration’s policy was presented in a Jan. 3, 2008, Indian Affairs memo that limited how far from a tribe’s existing reservation a casino project could be located.

“No application to take land into trust beyond a commutable distance from the reservation should be granted unless it carefully and comprehensively analyzes the potential negative impacts on reservation life and clearly demonstrates why these are outweighed by the financial benefits of tribal ownership in a distant gaming facility,” Carl Artman, Bush’s assistant secretary of Interior for Indian Affairs, wrote.