Saturday, June 14, 2008

Former Pombo aide reveals he has been lobbying for Detroit casino syndicator

Four months after the fact, Thomas "Tom" Brierton, a one-time senior aide to the House Resources Committee under then-chairman Rep. Richard Pombo, has registered as a lobbyist representing entities controlled by Detroit casino syndicator Michael J. Malik, Sr.

Brierton now reports he has been actively lobbying members of the House of Representaives since 2.01.08 in support of H.R. 2176; but he delayed filing lobbying disclosures until 6.13.08 -- more than four months after the fact.

Disclosures that Brierton has been retained by MJM Enterprises and Blue Water Resorts, were filed approximately 36 hours after TVT reported rumors that Brierton had been agressively lobbying House members to support Malik's casino plans.

One must wonder when Brierton would have made required disclosures had we not exposed his efforts at this time.

What other undisclosed resources are being leveraged by Malik to pass H.R. 2176? Who else is delaying disclosures? Richard Pombo has been spotted in attendance at hearings on H.R. 2176. Some insiders suggest Pombo too may be lobbying to pass the bill.

If passed in the House, and subsequently in the Senate, H.R. 2176 paves the way for Malik to develop and manage an off-reservation casino in Port Huron, Michigan, in partnership with the Bay Mills Indian Community.

Along with the support from members of Detroit's Ilitch family, Malik has been attempting to site an off-reservation casino with the Bay Mills tribe at various locations in southeast Michigan for more than a decade.

Malik, Mike and Marian Ilitch, and members of the Ilitch family, were among former Rep. Richard Pombo's top ten donors during the period Brierton worked as a senior aide to Pombo. They also fronted travel expenses for Pombo and House Natural Resources Committee ranking member, Rep. Don Young.

After Pombo failed to win re-election in 2006, he used campaign funds to pay Brierton $13,000. Brierton subsequently left employment in the House of Representatives.

American RadioWorks reports that from 2003-2005, while Brierton was with the office of Rep. Richard Pombo, he took seven trips financed by special interest groups and totalling $8,581.53. Among those paying Brierton's travel expenses at the time: SODAK Gaming, Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Government.

In between stints in Congress, Brierton was registered as a lobbyist for two firms: Janus-Merritt Strategies and Williams, Mullin et. al. Brierton's clients included the Interactive Gaming Council, National Indian Gaming Assoc., and Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

Brierton's current lobbying firm is Franklin Creek Consulting. In 2007 his firm registered to lobby on behalf of the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians and California Cities for Self Reliance.

In finally filing lobbying registration forms on 6.13.08, Brierton failed to disclose his previous tenure in both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, where he served as deputy director for the Subcommittee on the Census in the late 1990s.

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