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How the U.S. Government Is Profiting From Keeping Pot Illegal

So where did the Joint Committee on Taxation's numbers come from? Several marijuana industry groups have done their own estimates of 280E's impact, but the numbers that seem closest to what the JCT put out were developed by a Washington D.C. economic research firm hired by Tom Rodgers, a Native-American advocate and lobbyist. About 15 years ago, Rodgers was the whistleblower in the infamous Jack Abramoff case, helping authorities to uncover criminal lobbying and bribery activities that ultimately led to convictions for 21 people, including a congressman and two former Bush White House officials. These days, Rodgers has expanded his oeuvre to include some work on behalf of the cannabis industry. In 2016, in conjunction with a chain of Colorado marijuana dispensaries called the Green Solution, Rodgers commissioned the research firm to develop an analysis of 280E in the hopes of ultimately getting the provision repealed.

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By Amanda Chicago Lewis. Rolling Stone. February 1, 2018


Mourning a journalist in Mexico who said 'no to silence'

Around noon, assailants forced Valdez from his red Toyota Corolla and shot him a dozen times, according to Zeta, the Tijuana-based newsweekly. Valdez was left face down in the street, his signature Panama hat near his head.

He had also just filed his final article, about a protest in Culiacán against the deadly attacks teachers face by traveling and working in some of Sinaloa’s most dangerous areas. At least six teachers have been killed in the state so far this year.

Valdez is the sixth journalist murdered in Mexico in 2017. Since 1992, 40 journalists have been killed in the country for their work, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists — 32 of them with impunity. The Mexican government's own National Human Rights Commission counts at least 125 journalists killed in the country since 2000 — a death toll that makes Mexico one of the world's most dangerous places for reporters.

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May 17, 2017


Big Pharma is Killing Native Americans with Opioids, Tribes are Fighting Back

Despite widespread awareness and public health campaigns, the opioid epidemic in this country has reached alarming levels. Due in large part to opioid overdoses, the overall life expectancy in the US fell for the first time since 1993.

The problem has affected every part of the country, with minority communities, like Native American Tribes seeing the worst of the crisis. Because of the widespread nature of the epidemic, governments and tribes are spending exorbitant amounts of money to treat addiction and overdose.

Appearing on Ring of Fire Radio, Tom Rodgers, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe and activist and advocate for Native Americans and tribal issues, says that the problem is compounded by a lack of access to affordable health care:

"Medicaid is a huge poverty eliminator. With the proposed reduction in Medicaid across the country, and therefore the collateral impact on the ability to have drug prevention centers, best practices, research, it's going to have a cascading effect. At the time when we need, our society and Indian country needs more than ever best practices, drug abuse centers, any way to alleviate poverty and provide an environment of hope, we are doing the direct opposite of what should be done. We're cutting back on Medicaid, which services the poor."

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June 23, 2017

You can watch Sam Seder's interview with Tom Rodgers here:

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Whistleblower whose case led to OCE says outside ethics watchdog needed now more than ever

When Tom Rodgers heard House Republicans had voted secretly to gut the watchdog Office of Congressional Ethics, he says he couldn't help feeling a certain sad astonishment.

"I thought, 'My God, are we so flawed that we have no sense of history?'"

An attack on the OCE may have cut Rodgers, a consultant, activist and member of the Blackfeet tribe, closer to home than most.

As a whistleblower, Rodgers helped expose the Jack Abramoff scandal, which landed the notorious lobbyist behind bars, sent a congressman to prison, derailed the career of another - and, in 2008, led to the creation of the OCE.

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Policy.mic By Celeste Katz. January 03, 2017


State official 'pleased' with satellite voting numbers

Preliminary numbers from the June 7 primary election showed 424 voting-related users, either in new registrations or updates to registrations and absentee requests at the 13 satellite offices set up on Indian reservations, according to numbers from the secretary of state's office.

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch said she was "pleased and encouraged" by the number of voters who used the facilities.

"Hundreds of citizens were able to register and vote thanks to our satellite offices," she said via email. "I look forward to an even greater turnout during the 2016 General Election."

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Great Falls Tribune July 20, 2016


Costs of Indian voting rights legal counsel released
Money spent by counties defending a 2012 lawsuit on Indian voting rights could have gone toward setting up satellite voting and alternative voting areas on reservations for years, Indian voting activists said.

Blaine County paid $119,071 and Rosebud County paid $116,000 for outside legal counsel in the 2012 Wandering Medicine lawsuit, which was settled in 2014, a figure that could reach about $460,000 when combined with Bighorn County, which was also involved in the lawsuit, and the $100,000 paid to the plaintiffs' attorneys, activists said.

However, attorneys involved in the litigation say that is not the case..
-Phil Drake, Great Falls Tribune 6:18 p.m. MDT June 10, 2016

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Tribes' lawsuit could decide who controls Senate in 2015
-Jordy Yager, THE HILL tuesday, july 16, 2013

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Tribes say rights violated in 2012 election
Arguments are scheduled in a lawsuit over tribal members' ability to vote.
-John S. Adams, USA TODAY10:50a.m. EDT March 18, 2013

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Montana Native Voters Aren't Equal - But That's Not Enough, Says Judge
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Richard Cebull has denied an emergency request by Montana Indians, including lead plaintiff Mark Wandering Medicine, Northern Cheyenne, for satellite early-voting offices on the Northern Cheyenne, Crow and Fort Belknap reservations. The October 30 decision, in federal court in Billings, has the effect of postponing resolution of the issue until after the election.
-Stephanie Woodard, Indian Country - 11/5/12

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Judge rejects Native Americans' lawsuit over access to polling places
A federal judge in Montana has shot down an attempt by Native American tribes to get better voting access.
-Jordy Yager, The Hill - 10/31/12

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Native Americans sue for early voting
American Indian groups in Montana have sued for early-voting offices on their reservations. Their request is opposed by election officials, both Republicans and Democrats, who say they don't have the time or resources to make it happen. The battle will be fought this week in a federal court in Billings, Mont.
-BY STEPHANIE WOODARD Open Channel, NBCNews.com - 10/16/12

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The Whole Story >


Tribal members sue for voting access
A group of American Indians from the Crow, Northern Cheyenne and Fort Belknap reservations sued state and county election officials in federal court on Wednesday, seeking equal access to voting through satellite offices.
-Billings Gazette - 10/10/12

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read more about CASE NO. 1:12-CV-135-RFC

read more about CASE NO. 1:12-cv-00135-RFC


VIDEO: Protesting for equal access to the polls
Native American groups delivered a complaint to the federal courthouse in Billings that claims residents on reservations don't have the same access to the polls as other county residents.
-Billings Gazette - 10/10/12

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Jack Abramoff: I'm dedicated to repaying those I defrauded
In the lead-up to November's presidential election in the United States, groups on the right and left are sounding the alarm at the influence of money on US politics.
-HardTalk - 9/25/12

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Legislation to Give Tribes Bond Parity With States, Municipalities

-Mark Fogarty - 6/20/12

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HR 1505: The Latest Tribal Border War

-Heather Steinberger - 6/19/12

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Abramoff Scandal Secrets: Tribal Confrontation Sparks Journalist Mystery

-Rob Capriccioso - 03/08/12

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Jack Abramoff Confronted By Native American Tribes

-Paul Blumenthal - 03/07/12

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ABRAMOFF TRIED TO SWAY MEDIA COVERAGE

-Politico - 03/06/12

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Abramoff says his corrupting influence reached into the media

-Jordy Yager, The Hill - 03/05/12

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Tribes rip Abramoff, ethics watchdogs

-Jordy Yager, The Hill - 03/07/12

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Jack Abramoff Confronted By Native American Tribes

-Paul Blumenthal, The Huffington Post - 03/07/12

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Abramoff says his corrupting influence reached into the media

-Jordy Yager - 03/05/12

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Abramoff talks corruption in Washington

-The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell

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Abramoff Whistleblower Tom Rodgers Slams '60 Minutes' and Leslie Stahl's Softballs
Tom Rodgers, Native American of the Blackfoot tribe, criticizes the velvet treatment of Jack Abramoff on CBS' 60 Minutes on 11/6/11; Rinku Sen of Applied Research Center says Obama's ICE is destroying families by deporting parents of kids who are US citizens.
-by PETER B. COLLINS on NOVEMBER 7, 2011

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The Legacy of the Abramoff Scandals.
"You know, scandals are very effective tools for the opposition in an election year. And we saw, particularly in 2006, when the Republicans lost the House of Representatives and in large measure, they lost it - at least according to exit polls among the voters - because of the Abramoff scandals, where, you know, a prominent lobbyist in Washington was wining and dining and paying off members of Congress, some of whom went to jail."
-NPR News analyst Cokie Roberts, March 8, 2010

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Tom Rodgers on Bill Press Show
Monday, November 7, 2011

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Chumash get high-powered lobbying help in Washington, D.C.
Santa Ynez Notebook
OCTOBER 3, 2005

Santa Ynez Notebook

The sparring between Santa Barbara County and the Chumash tribe moved to the national stage Sept. 7-8, as Chumash Chairman Vincent Armenta and Secretary/Treasurer Kenneth Kahn went to Washington to meet with a host of influential legislators, lobbyists and their aides.

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Article “Stacked Deck”
From The Legal Times
Vol XXI
No. 44
MARCH 29, 1999

“STACKED DECK”- Tribes Claim Gaming Panel Favors Old-Line Casinos. With the federal commission on gambling in the midst of drafting its final report—which will incluing industry—pro- and anti-gambling forces of all stripes are girding for a fresh lobbying de recommendations to Congress on how to address the rapid growth of the gambattle.

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Excerpt from Article “Is Panel Biased Against Tribes?”

“IS PANEL BIASED AGAINST TRIBES?”- Indian tribe lobbyist Thomas Rodgers says that members of the gambling commission harbored a bias against his clients.

… Rodgers and others who have kept close tabs on the panel, appointed in 1997 to study the social and economic impacts of legalized gambling, argue that after almost two years of gathering information and testimony on all forms of gambling, the commissioners seem pointed to issue a report that takes specific aim at Indian gaming.

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