Raul Grijalva, a close friend of Ned Norris, the chairman of the Tohono O’odham tribe, is strongly opposed to a bill offered by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) that would bar the new casino from being opened. Franks introduced a similar bill in the House during the last Congress. The measure was adopted by the House but later died in the Senate.
The long-running and costly dispute has not only spilled over onto Capitol Hill but into the federal courts. Akin Gump has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by the Gila River tribe for its lobbying work, including nearly $1.2 million this year alone, lobbying disclosure records show. The Tohono O’odham tribes has also spent big money on its own hired guns.
During a May 16 hearing in a Natural Resources subcommittee, Norris testified in opposition to the latest version of the Franks bill.
As Norris was testifying, Meggesto sent out this tweet: “Resisting urge to tweet about a pair of high school buddies, one is lying under oath and the other is on the dais enabling him #Indianlands.”
Meggesto’s tweet, without mentioning them by name, was clearly referring to Grijalva and Norris.
Grijalva was outraged by Meggesto’s tweet — since deleted — and has sought a public apology, so far to no avail.
Now Grijalva — whose leadership PAC received a $5,000 contribution from the Tohono O’odham tribe in August 2012 — wants Reps. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), the chairman and ranking member of Natural Resources, to act.
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