Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reporter suggests politico was architect of tribal chairman's illegal campaign contribution scheme

A Cape Cod Times story by reporter George Brennan indicates court documents released in December 2008 as part of a fraud case brought by the U.S. Department of Justice against former Mashpee Wampanoag tribal chairman Glenn Marshall, indicate that political consultant Stephen J. Graham, so-called "Political Consultant A," is the person who orchestrated $60,000 in illegal federal campaign contributions that are the center of the federal case against Marshall.

Marshall, who has plead guilty to all charges, funneled $4 million he got from his development partner Herb Strather into the Mashpee Fisherman's Association Inc. which Marshall used as a slush fund to hire Jack Abramoff, make the illegal campaign contributions and pay some of his own personal expenses.

Initially, Marshall attempted to use tribal council money to fund the political contributions suggested by Graham, but Marshall was told that was illegal. When Marshall told Graham he didn't know anyone with the kind of money needed to make political donations, Graham allegedly told him how to make them using so-called straw contributors — making donations in their names and then paying those individuals back. Donations were made to Members of Congress and others in the name of Marshall, his family members, and other tribal council officers.

Marshall's attorney Larry Craven has said he thinks even the government doesn't believe the campaign contribution scheme was Marshall's idea. Craven says Marshall's not the architect of the scheme but rather was instructed by reference.

Graham has not been charged in the matter and is still being paid by the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe as a consultant. In 2008, he earned $182,000, according to tribe records.

The federal case against Marshall is one of the several branches of a far-reaching Washington D.C. scandal centered around disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Document: Charges against Glenn Marshall
Document: Glenn Marshall's plea agreement

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