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STATEMENT OF THE MINNESOTA INDIAN GAMING ASSOCIATION REGARDING THE INSPECTOR GENERAL'S REPORT

 ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The following statement was issued by officials of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) today in response to the report of the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Interior, on Indian Gaming:
 The report issued earlier this week by the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Interior, on implementation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, is a fundamentally flawed document filled with factual errors, erroneous conclusions and unsubstantiated allegations. It is no accident that this report was presented to the public on the very day that the 103rd Congress convened. Clearly, the intent of its authors was to wreak political havoc -- to undermine public confidence in, and support for, tribal gaming; and to influence Congressional consideration of proposed amendments to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
 The leadership of the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association received copies of limited portions of the draft report some weeks ago, and immediately recognized that its intent was not constructive analysis but political sabotage. On Nov. 18, we contacted the Inspector General's office by letter, and informed him of the serious inaccuracies and factual errors in the material we had seen. We asked for an opportunity to review the complete document and offer input. In our letter, we emphasized the importance of assuring that such a report be factual and fair in its presentation of the issues. In a written response of staggering arrogance, the Inspector General declined our request.
 The Inspector General's report is part of a broad campaign by private economic and political interests to weaken tribal gaming and undermine the sovereignty of tribal governments. The campaign becomes obvious when events of the recent past are summarized.
 -- On Jan. 5, 1992, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Las Vegas is losing business to Minnesota's Indian casinos. Despite 12 percent increases in Las Vegas tourism, air traffic between the Twin Cities and Las Vegas levels off, showing no growth from 1990 to 1991. A Missouri gambling excursion operator reports that "Indian casinos are definitely hurting Las Vegas."
 -- On Feb. 13, the Nevada Resort Association (NRA) notifies its members of an "emergency meeting" to discuss "matters which could have a devastating impact on the future of our business in this state." Although the focus of the meeting is an initiative to expand legalized gambling in California, concern is expressed that the passage of the measure could stimulate significant expansion of Indian gaming in the state.
 -- February, 1992 sees the formation of "The Coalition to Protect Community and States' Rights," a front group set up by the Nevada Resort Association to oppose Indian gaming. It operates out of the Los Angeles offices of Burson-Marsteller, the world's largest public relations firm.
 -- On March 12, Secretary of Interior Manuel Lujan tells representatives of the Nevada Resort Association that "Indians will soon operate casinos in virtually every major city in the United States," a prospect which greatly alarms the casino operators. They offer to help Lujan "put a stop to Indian gaming."
 -- Shortly thereafter, Nevada resorters express their concerns to Vice President Dan Quayle, precipitating a call from the Republican National Committee to Lujan. Quayle visits Las Vegas to reassure the resorters personally.
 -- On March 25, members of the NRA pledge $500,000 to $1 million to "the fight to oppose Indian gaming." They discuss a plan to "get the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) amended" in the current session of Congress or the next.
 -- On April 20, Lujan issues a memo to White House Chief of Staff Samuel Skinner, outlining a political strategy to weaken Indian gaming by amending the IGRA. Lujan writes, "In order to counter what may turn into a campaign to blame this administration for foisting Indian gaming onto states which profess not to want it, I suggest that this administration's position in favor of family values (emphasis added) and against unwanted gaming (emphasis added) be reiterated through proposed 'clarifying' amendments to the IGRA."
 Lujan continues, "Two notes of caution apply here: first, every effort should be made not to identify with those pro-gaming interests which are seeking to eliminate Indian gaming because of competition. Second, every effort should also be made not to identify with those interests which are seeking to introduce Class III Indian gaming to states which do not allow any casino-style gaming."
 Clearly, members of the Department of Interior and the Office of Inspector General have misused their authority by publishing this inaccurate and misleading report. This abuse of power is a clear breach of the federal government's trust responsibility toward Indian tribes.
 Even more disturbing, this is the second time in 60 days that a report by the Inspector General's office has been condemned for its blatant and unconscionable political bias. On Nov. 20, the Advisory Task Force of the Bureau of Indian Affairs blasted Inspector General James Richard for his report on Indian School Facilities Construction. A resolution adopted by the Task Force said the report "contained erroneous statistics and makes findings designed from the outset to support the Inspector General's anti-educational and anti-tribal thesis," and demanded an apology from the Inspector General for "the bias he has expresses in public comments concerning education facilities on reservations ..."
 The Minnesota Indian Gaming Association will contact members of the Minnesota Congressional delegation this week to call for a complete investigation into the activities of the Office of Inspector General, as warranted by this obvious pattern of arrogant and hostile behavior toward tribal governments and programs.
 -0- 1/7/93
 /CONTACT: Marsha Kelly of Issue Strategies, 612-293-1049, for MIGA/


CO: Minnesota Indian Gaming Association ST: Minnesota IN: CNO SU:

KH -- MN022 -- 2860 01/07/93 18:08 EST
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Date:Jan 7, 1993
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