FEBRUARY 12, 2009
The leader of a federally recognized Massachusetts Indian tribe involved in a massive lobbying scandal has pleaded guilty to a variety of federal charges, including fraud and making illegal campaign contributions to members of Congress.
As chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, Glenn Marshall repeatedly violated campaign finance and tax laws and committed wire and Social Security fraud in an effort to secure federal recognition for his tribe.
The crooked tribal leader also embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Mashpee Wampanoag, using the federal money as a personal slush fund. In all, Marshall pleaded guilty to five felonies and could go to prison for more than three decades. His sentencing is scheduled for early May.
Marshall’s problems began in 2003 when he hired a notoriously shady but influential and well-connected Republican lobbyist (Jack Abramoff) to promote his tribe in Washington. Together they participated in the biggest public corruption scandal to rock Congress. The storied relationship is laid out in a lengthy Justice Department document announcing Marshall’s guilty plea this week.
More than a dozen lawmakers, lobbyists, congressional staffers and Bush Administration officials have been convicted in the massive scheme and Abramoff is in jail. In 2006 the disgraced lobbyist pleaded guilty to showering lawmakers and members of their staff with upscale European vacations, sports and entertainment tickets, expensive meals and other pricey gifts in exchange for special favors for his clients. Many of them were Indian tribes like Marshall’s.
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