Boxer’s sweetheart deal with reinstated Indian tribe; Update: The Hill retracts

In 2006, Democrats successfully won back control of Congress by highlighting corruption scandals involving Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist specializing in Indian tribes.  But does one Democrat in particular have a problem of her own with her interventions on behalf of a California tribe that now operates a casino just outside of San Francisco?  Barbara Boxer pushed a bill reinstating a tribe designated as “defunct” by the BIA 40 years earlier.  Rick Manning at The Hill says the deal — and what ensued — would have “made Jack Abramoff blush”:

{Update: Withdrawn by The Hill.  See Update III below.]

Manning also details the hilarious rationalization that allowed Boxer to reinstate a tribe that had disappeared decades earlier, but that’s almost beside the point.   Boxer also exempted the “reservation” from the environmental regulation she imposed on everyone else in order to make sure the casino project moved forward:

Boxer prides herself on being a strong environmentalist, having won endorsements from all the environmentalist groups that count. She blasts Fiorina for supporting offshore oil drilling and embracing Proposition 23, which would suspend California’s climate change law.

There is an inconsistency in Boxer’s otherwise green record. State environmental laws do not apply on Indian reservations. And a casino off Highway 101 abutting Rohnert Park, a city of about 40,000 people, certainly would have an impact. Water supplies are short in Sonoma County, and casino customers would further clog Highway 101, the Redwood Highway.

“This is going to have a profound adverse impact throughout my district,” Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, told me.

Boxer seemed uncomfortable when asked about the Graton legislation during her stop at the Sacramento Bee last month as she sought the paper’s endorsement.

She has reason to be uncomfortable.

Her son, Oakland attorney Douglas Boxer, became involved in the casino project in 2001, the year after she pushed through the bill granting recognition to the tribe.

In a rather convoluted manner, Boxer said: “I can’t talk about any developments because my son was a lawyer who was part of some consultant that was somehow related to this.”

Boxer sits at the head of the Ethics Committee, which otherwise should be delving deep into this smelly deal.  California voters can take the hygienic and pro-active measure of voting her out of office on Tuesday instead.

Update: As of 8:35 pm tonight, the page seems to have disappeared from The Hill, or at least the story has.  The comments are still up.

Update II: Here’s the Google cache of the story.

Update III: The Hill has determined that their portion of the story has serious factual problems, and was not properly researched.  For instance, Boxer did not change the bill to allow gaming; her version of the bill continued the House prohibition on it.  The source for her son making millions on the deal was not reliable, and Boxer’s camp disputes it.  He also was not a partner at Platinum Advisers, as The Hill reported, and Boxer’s camp disputes that Kenwood Investments 2 had any dealings with the purchase of land in Rohnert Park.  As a result, I have redacted all of the quotes from the original article and edited my own piece to remove references to the piece, as well as deleting the link to the cached version of it.

I have left the Press Democrat article in place; the hypocrisy on enviro law is still relevant.