Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Lobbyist Did Business With New Mexico Pueblo
By Leslie Linthicum
Journal Staff Writer
Lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his public relations partner Michael Scanlon were employed by Sandia Pueblo in 2001 and 2002 to help with the tribe's push to reclaim land in the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque.
The pueblo employed Abramoff's firm to lobby Congress for approval of a land settlement deal to give pueblo members unlimited access to about 10,000 acres on the west side of the Sandias.
Scanlon was under contract by the pueblo during the same time to handle public relations for the land deal.
The settlement was approved in 2003.
Stuwart Paisano, who served as Sandia's governor until last week, said Tuesday the pueblo was in legal settlement negotiations with the firms and could not talk about specifics of Sandia's monetary arrangement. He said the pueblo paid more than $1 million to the two men.
"Our council has no ill feelings," he said. "We were able to get the mountain back, which was our only goal. Obviously we made some poor choices in who we hired."