These are good times to be a member of Minnesota's tiny Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. The federally recognized Indian tribe runs the highly profitable Mystic Lake Casino just outside Minneapolis, and Elizabeth Walker, a vice president of McGuire Woods Consulting, says that translates into a payout of about $840,000 a year to each of the tribe's 275 members.
Sounds great, but Winifred Freezor and Cecilia St. Pierre think that their once- impoverished tribe has grown too rapidly as the casino profits mushroomed. Back in 1969, there were only 33 enrolled members.
The two Minneapolis women hired McGuire Woods, the lobbying subsidiary of a Richmond law firm, to take their complaint over the tribe's "adoption" policy before the Bureau of Indian Affairs and lawmakers in Washington. They contend the tribe has been admitting too many people with questionable ties to the tribe.
"It's all about money," says Walker.
Tribal spokesman William Hardaker disagrees. He says the tribe has a "narrow" adoption policy that has been endorsed by federal officials. The issue should be resolved "within the tribe. Nowhere else," he says.
Pardon Me, Do You Have Any Import Duties?
Is Uncle Sam about to spurn all those fancy Dijon mustards?
Not if DCS Group senior vice president Joseph Duggan, once a speech writer for President Bush, has his way. DCS recently was hired by the Federation des Industries Condimentaires de France--the French mustard makers--to lobby against a threat by U.S. trade officials to slap heavy import duties on their mustards.
Duggan says it's all part of a battle over U.S. beef imports to the European Union, with the United States threatening to retaliate against mustard and other French products. He notes that the fight could hurt the biggest mustard distributor in France, which also happens to be the biggest importer of Tabasco sauce, all made down in Louisiana.
DCS has enlisted Tabasco maker Paul C.P. McIlhenny and a number of French chefs from the D.C. area to sign on to his mustard protest.
A self-professed Francophile, Duggan says it the first time he has registered to lobby and he's delighted. "It's a good thing. I've finally got something I can sink my teeth into," he says.
Oh yes, Duggan adds, Grey Poupon, the most widely known "French" mustard on this side of the Atlantic, is not threatened because it's a Nabisco product made for years in the United States according to an old French recipe.
Patton Boggs, which has represented the Charles E. Smith Cos., one of the big landlords of the federal bureaucracy, has picked up another big governmental landlord, Laszlo N. Tauber, M.D., and Associates of Bethesda. Jeffrey L. Turner and Edward J. Newberry, partners at the law and lobbying firm, say they have been asked to help Tauber renegotiate some of his leases with the General Services Administration.
Trail of the Century
Also at Patton Boggs, Thomas C. Downs, an associate at the firm and an aide to former representative George J. Hochbrueckner (D-N.Y.), is on the trail to find more money for the region. He's working for Potomac Heritage Partnership, which wants Congress to give the National Park Service money for a National Scenic Trail along the Potomac River. That's something that was supposed to happen after President Reagan signed legislation in 1983 for 20 such trails.
But the Potomac trail has never been funded, so several groups, including Friends of the Potomac, the American Hiking Society and the Northern Virginia Regional Planning District, hope to pressure Congress to come up with the funding for a trail that would be much more extensive than the C&O Canal along the eastern side of the river.
When Subpoena Talks, Oracle Listens
California's Oracle Corp. has turned to Mayer, Brown & Platt for help with antitrust policy. The big software company from Redwood City says it needed the law firm's legislative advice and help in answering subpoenas in the big Microsoft antitrust trial. "As my CEO would say, we would cherish the day that we would have a problem with the Justice Department because that would indicate we have a bigger market share than we have," said Ken Glueck, Oracle's senior director of government affairs.
The Revolving Door
Robert Hoopes, senior manager of political information for MCI Worldwide and a former aide to Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), has left the big communications company to join BSMG Worldwide as a senior managing director.
Ray Cole, former state director for Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), has joined Van Scoyoc Associates and taken several Alabama clients with him. Among them: Miltec and Time Domain Inc. of Huntsville, the Alabama Water and Wastewater Institute of Montgomery and the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce.
John Bliss, formerly a Republican chief counsel on a Senate Judiciary subcommittee and most recently president of the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, has joined Higgins, McGovern & Smith as a partner.
Frederick D. McClure, a special assistant to President Bush for legislative affairs, is returning to Washington on a part-time basis. Currently working for Public Strategies Inc. in Dallas, he'll now split his duties with the firm's Washington office.
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