Here are two things to consider:
- Hastings is the senior member of the House Rules Committee. H.R. 2176, a bill that would pave the way for Malik to build and manage a Bay Mills Indian casino in Port Huron, Michigan, was defeated in the House on 6.25.08. However, official lobbying reports for the 3rd Quarter '08 indicate lobbyists for Malik's affiliates were still pushing for passage of H.R. 2176 this Fall. A friend with Rep. Hastings' possible sway on the House Rules Committee might be useful if one were trying to get a failed bill re-considered or otherwise use some loophole to slip through approval of the bill in the House.
- As a report in National Review explains, Hastings was a federal Judge in Florida in the 1980s when it was alleged he solicited a bribe. Impeachment ensued in Congress. The House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to impeach Hastings. The full House concurred by vote of 413 to 3. As it turns out, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI 14th) was Judiciary Committee chairman. Conyers helped draft the articles of impeachment and appeared as an impeachment manager before the Senate. It's reported that Conyers made perhaps the most compelling arguments during Hastings' impeachment proceedings. Hastings was impeached and removed from the federal bench.
Fast forward several years to 1992 when Hastings resurrected his career getting elected to represent a South Florida district as a member of the same club that had previously knocked him off the federal bench.
During the 110th Congress, Rep. Conyers was an outspoken opponent of H.R. 2176. After the bill passed favorably out of the Natural Resources Committee, Conyers pulled privilege and held a hearing on the matter before the Judiciary Committee which registered unanimous opposition to the bill. Conyers followed that up with a "Dear Colleague" letter signed by 52 other Members prior to the full vote of the House.
So ... was it Hastings' apparent history involving bribes that attracted Malik or the fact that they have a common foe in Conyers? Or both?
That contribution caught TVT's attention because Hastings' re-election committee reported to the FEC that Detroit-based Malik is employed by Wheat Government Relations, a firm headed by former Rep. Alan Wheat (D-MO), at an address in Arlington, VA.
Actually, at least five Malik affiliates and partners employ lobbyists at Wheat Government Relations. Among them, Blue Water Resorts affiliated with MJM Enterprises and the Bay Mills Indian Community, Gateway Casino Resorts affiliated with the Shinnecock Indian Nation, and BarWest LLC.
Malik's business partner is Mrs. Marian Ilitch, owner of Detroit's MotorCity Casino. The Ilitch family owns the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesars Pizza.