Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
Rangel's Wampum Linked to Scandal
By IAN BISHOP
WASHINGTON — Rep. Charlie Rangel has taken more donations from American Indian tribes tied to sleazy lobbyist Jack Abramoff than almost any other Democrat in the House, finance reports show.
Rangel has taken $27,000 from the Mississippi Choctaws and another $9,000 from the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in California since 1999. Both tribes are eager to cash in on casino gambling and are clients of the indicted Abramoff.
The tribes funneled $27,000 to Rangel's leadership PAC — used to help elect other Democrats — and routed another $9,000 directly to the Harlem Democrat's re-election campaign.
A study by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics found that 210 members of Congress have received campaign cash from Abramoff, his associates or his Indian-tribe clients.
But only 25 of those lawmakers received more than $21,500 — 20 Republicans and five Democrats, including Rangel. His $36,000 ranked him third-highest among House Democrats.
Abramoff has been indicted on corruption-related charges and now may be cooperating with federal authorities.
Larry Noble, head of the CPR, said many lawmakers are considering whether to return the cash collected from Abramoff's Indian clients, and some already have.
Abramoff, who donated his own cash only to Republicans, has been charged with fraud in Florida and is being probed by the feds for allegedly greasing the palms of pols and bilking his clients. He is mulling a deal to plead guilty in the federal influence-peddling probe.
Rangel is the top Democrat on the influential House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees all tax-related issues — a key interest for Indian casinos and businesses.
He told The Post he has no intention of returning the contributions.
"If I thought for one minute any money was from Abramoff, I wouldn't hesitate to return it," Rangel said.
He insisted, "I don't know Abramoff," and said he's never taken a dime from the disgraced GOP lobbyist.
Wampum was limited to East Coast Indians. Using it to refer to any Indian money is stereotypical.
Tipis, feather bonnets, and other Native American stereotypes
The facts about Indian gaming—corruption
. . .
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