The method is rather… elegant, in a certain sort of way: obnoxious, but elegant. What the Democrats are plotting to do is to finish passing legislation (that would appear in the continuing spending resolution that’s substituting for an actual budget) that would allow the executive branch of the government (in the guise of the Secretary of the Interior) to unilaterally take into trust land offered to them by Native American ‘tribes.’ ‘Tribes’ is in scare quotes because the new legislation makes the determination of tribal status for this purpose the sole province of… the executive branch of the government. Why this matters is because once the government has the land it can give the ‘tribe’ the use of that land back; which means that the ‘tribe’ is free to build a casino there with no interference from state governments.
This is, by the way, not an exaggeration: readers may recall that Senator Barbara Boxer’s family profited mightily earlier this decade from a similar scam involving the Miwok Indians, the Department of the Interior, and a proposed San Francisco-area casino. What this new deal would do is eliminate the need for pesky legislation granting individual recognition of tribal status: instead, groups interested in ignoring local gambling restrictions would simply apply to the Great Wh… err, the President… in Washington for the necessary permissions. And, needless to say: the Democrats are likely to look favorably on the petitions of such fine, loyal donors businessmen.
If this really bugs you, you may want to give your Senator a call at (202) 224-3121 and let him or her know that this provision shouldn’t be in the Senate version of the continuing resolution.
Moe Lane (crosspost)