Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tribe's contributions to Rep. Stupak have remained virtually hidden

During the 2008 campaign cycle, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI 1st) received five contributions totaling $4,900 from the Bay Mills Indian Community. But that detail isn't easily discoverable when searching standard political donor data bases at often referenced sites like fec.gov, OpenSecrets.org or CampaignMoney.com.

Generally, contributions to federal political committees are restricted to individuals but through loopholes, tribes are able to make contributions. Most searchable donor data bases aren't able to recognize records for organizations so a search of the donor "Bay Mills Indian Community" isn't likely to pull up any results.

However, using a new resource available on the Federal Election Commission's Web site, its possible to recognize contributions from tribes during the 2008 campaign cycle if you search a specific candidate's donor records.

By reviewing "Candidate Details" for Rep. Stupak and then exploring "itemized individual contributions" it's revealed that the following flowed from the Bay Mills tribe to Rep. Stupak during the 2008 campaign cycle:

06.08.07 - Bay Mills Indian Community - $1,000
09.04.07 - Bay Mills Indian Community - $1,200
09.04.07 - Bay Mills Indian Community - $1,300
05.27.08 - Bay Mills Indian Community - $400
08.11.08 - Bay Mills Indian Community - $1,000
09.30.08 - Bay Mills Indian Community - ($300) refund

The Bay Mills Indian Community's Brimley, MI, Reservation sits within Stupak's congressional district. Over the last decade, Stupak has introduced a handful of failed bills in Congress to resolve so-called land claims the tribe has made to property in a subdivision called Charlotte Beach. In the 110th Congress, H.R. 2176 was defeated by an overwhelming vote in the House of Representatives.

Had any of Stupak's bills been approved by Congress, they would have paved the way for a group of casino syndicators behind the Bay Mills tribe, to build and manage a casino in Port Huron, Michigan.

It appears that the tribe made several contributions to Stupak during the 2004 & 2006 election cycles as well. That's in addition to more than $40,000 that has flowed to Stupak from those pushing the Port Huron casino including Michael J. Malik, Sr., and Mike and Marian Ilitch.

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