"I think all of us know this is the most extraordinary pattern of abuse to come before this committee in the 18 years I've served here," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who described the pair's conduct as "scuzzy" and "outrageous."
Lawmakers said the e-mails and other documents show that the two men spent tens of thousands of dollars on mailings and other materials for candidates in tribal elections. Individual tribes make their own rules governing outside influence on tribal elections. The National Indian Gaming Act bars the use of tribal funds to benefit individual candidates.
_____E-Mail From Abramoff_____
Read the Message: "This deal is a big part of our financial life...
The e-mails show that just before the 2002 Agua Caliente tribal elections, Scanlon asked Abramoff: "How much do you want me to spend on the AC race -- I gotta get a team out there ASAP -- Then rotate a new team in after that -- So travel is gonna run about 20K and materials like 5-10K. Should we go for it?"
Abramoff replied: "Yes, go for it big time."
The panel subpoenaed Chris Petras, former legislative director of the Saginaw Chippewas, who was a liaison to Abramoff and Scanlon. Petras said that he could not recall any discussions about the pair becoming involved in tribal elections and that he was not convinced they had done anything wrong.
An e-mail from Abramoff to Scanlon in the fall of 2001 suggested otherwise. "I had dinner tonight with Chris Petras of Sag Chip. He was salivating at the $4-5 million program I described to him . . . He is going to come in after the primary with the guy who will be chief if they win (a big fan of ours already) and we are going to help him win. If he wins, they take over in January, and we have millions."
After the Saginaw Chippewa election, Scanlon congratulated his staff and Abramoff for the victory of seven of eight candidates running as "The Slate of Eight." "We had less than three weeks to take 8 guys who never met before and get them elected. It was a great plan, and great execution by a great team. . . . We now control 9 out of the 12 seats on the council . . . hopefully we will be doing some more work for the tribe in the near future."
E-mails in the winter of 2002 appear to show Abramoff attempting to drum up more business for Scanlon by stoking unwarranted fears about "racinos" legislation that could revive competition from the horse racing industry.
On Oct. 10, 2002, Scanlon sent Abramoff a news clipping about horse racing bills in the Michigan legislature, with the message: "Here we go! This could kill Saginaw!"
Abramoff responded: "Chris thinks this is not going anywhere. Can you call him and scare him?"
On Dec. 10, 2002, Abramoff appeared to do just that in an e-mail to Petras. "Chris, I am getting worried about this. Last night we opened Stacks [a Pennsylvania Avenue restaurant owned by Abramoff] and there were some WH guys there. . . . They told me that there is a hearing coming up on this immediately, and they have heard that this is going to happen!!! . . . where is Scanlon on this? . . . We need to get him firing missiles. How do we move it faster? Please get the council focused on this as soon as you can."
Abramoff sent a copy to Scanlon, who messaged back: "I love you."