Monday, January 16, 2006

Doyle ally served on tribal compact negotiation team

Doyle ally served on tribal compact negotiation team
By: Richard Moore
The Lakeland Times

Former Gov. Martin Schreiber – a key ally of and adviser to Gov. Jim Doyle – served as a member of the Potawatomi tribe’s (FCPC) negotiating team for a gaming compact signed with the state Oct. 4, a tribal spokesperson and Schreiber associate said Tuesday.

Ken Walsh, tribal spokesperson and employee of Schreiber & Associates, acknowledged his firm’s extensive involvement in gaming negotiations and said Schreiber served in virtually the same capacity on the tribe’s behalf as he did in 2003 gaming negotiations.

“Our firm has worked for the tribe going on 10 years and what we do is handle lobbying at the state, county and local level, and we do strategic planning and public relations for the executive council,” Walsh said. “Within those duties, we help in planning and work with the tribe’s executive council on gaming and compacts. Gaming has lifted the tribe from poverty.”

Walsh acknowledged that Schreiber served on the tribe’s compact negotiation team for the 2005 compact with tribal Attorney General Jeff Crawford and tribal attorney Eric Dahlstrom. When asked specifically how that role compared with Schreiber’s role in the 2003 negotiations, Walsh said: “It is essentially the same.”

Both Doyle and Schreiber have previously denied that Schreiber had any role in negotiating the 2003 compact, which the State Supreme Court ultimately struck down. The new deal lasts for 25 years and is expected to bring in about $750 million for the state over its quarter-century term.

The governor and Schreiber had responded after several lawmakers raised questions about possible conflicts of interest between Schreiber’s business relationship with the tribe and his political relationship with the governor. Schreiber served as Doyle’s 2002 campaign co-chair, emceed Doyle’s inauguration, and has remained in his inner circle.

In a July 20, 2003 interview with Jeff Mayers of, Doyle said the bargain was hammered out between Department of Administration Secretary Marc Marotta and tribal representatives and specifically told Mayers that Schreiber was not involved in the negotiations.

Schreiber himself told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he sat in on some bargaining sessions leading to the 2003 pact but did not directly negotiate and never lobbied Doyle.

Walsh told The Times Schreiber did not lobby the governor this time, either.

Monthly retainer

For his services, The Times has learned, the FCPC is paying Schreiber and his firm $73,150 a month.

Schreiber inked his new three-year deal with the tribe June 7, 2004. The effective beginning date of the agreement was Oct. 1 of last year.

The tribe’s executive council approved the contract in a special meeting May 22, 2004. However, sources have told The Times the tribe’s general counsel, its governing body, never approved the contract.

Indeed, according to the Potawatomi constitution, the next regularly scheduled meeting of the general council would have been the second Saturday in August.

Both the contract and other tribal documents obtained by The Times show the consultant deeply involved in the compact process on behalf of the Potawatomi tribe.

Not only did the contract give Schreiber specific gaming responsibilities but other records indicate he routinely updated the tribe’s executive council on the negotiations’ progress and developed public relations campaigns to support impending deals.

According to the agreement, the contract calls for Schreiber to monitor the activities of federal, state and local government bodies as they affect the tribe and particularly the FCPC’s gaming activities and environmental issues, as well as to represent the tribe before those entities “as necessary.”

In addition, Schreiber and his firm would provide public media support for the tribe, would develop recommendations for media communications, attend key government committee meetings and “enhance government-to-government relationships with key representatives of the State of Wisconsin.”

In return, the Potawatomi agreed to pay Schreiber’s firm a retainer of $73,150 a month. In addition, the FCPC agreed to pay expenses incurred in connection with services performed, including travel, meals, lodging, long distance phone calls, photocopying, postage and like expenses.

The retainer alone translates into revenues totaling $877,800. According to the 2005 Wisconsin State Journal Book of Business, Schreiber’s firms’ annual revenues are “$980,000-plus.” If that is accurate, the FCPC contributes a sizable portion of the firm’s business.

Other Schreiber clients include Miller Brewing, Philip Morris, and the Wisconsin Trooper’s Association.

Schreiber: Actively involved in compact process

Certainly the Potawatomi’s executive council minutes show a close working relationship between the tribe, the governor and Schreiber on a wide variety of issues, with Schreiber as the go-between.

For example, according to the Sept. 8, 2003 minutes, one motion directs tribal attorneys to “work with Governor’s office through Schreiber & Associates to influence the Secretary of Interior’s position and research the claim of historic use by Chippewa Tribes.”

That issue concerned federal attitudes toward off-reservation gambling. Other tribal records specifically document Schreiber’s active participation throughout 2005 in the compact negotiations.

On May 5 and again May 17, executive council minutes show Schreiber, Crawford and Dahlstrom updating the panel on the progress of the talks between the tribe and the state.

At the end of the compact discussion during the May 5 meeting – a special executive council session – tribal Treasurer John Alloway offered a successful motion to direct “the Compact Negotiating Team, that if no gaming compact amendment is made and approved by the Bureau Of Indian Affairs, the tribe will withhold the June 30, 2005 compact payment.”

After this reporter read those minutes to Walsh and asked specifically if Schreiber was a member of the referenced compact negotiating team, Walsh said, “Yes. I can’t deny what you have in front of you.”

A tribal chairman’s report shows FCPC Chairman Gus Frank traveling to Milwaukee for another special meeting July 20, 2005, a “meeting on compact negotiations with Executive Council, Attorney General (Jeff Crawford), Marty Schreiber and Attorney Dahlstrom.”

On Sept. 28, the council’s minutes report yet another compact update by the same team: Crawford, Schreiber, Dahlstrom and Walsh.

Even before then, on Jan. 13, Schreiber was launching various projects connected to the impending compact deals.

“Dean Pauliot motions to authorize Schreiber & Associates to update public opinion research on Indian gaming and compacts for the amount of $40,000 ($25,000 for benchmark survey and $15,000 to conduct two sets of focus groups on in-depth issues to help sharpen the benchmark poll),” the minutes state.

In the meantime, Schreiber was pushing public relations projects designed to win over public support for any gaming deal that might be struck.

“John Alloway motions to authorize and budget (phase 1) for a paid advertising campaign in support of the new compacts through Martin Schreiber & Associates for the amount not to exceed $425,000 and monies to come from tribal government compact litigation line item,” the March 16 minutes state.

Schreiber and his team have been involved with far more than just the gaming compacts. The minutes and records also show them pitching a variety of projects to the executive council and winning approval to carry forward.

“Marty Schreiber would like to do an economic study for Kenosha ($50,000),” the May 2 executive council minutes state. “Al Milham motions to take the money from the Compact Litigation Fund.” The motion carried unanimously.

Political whirlwind

The money wasn’t just flowing into the Schreiber firm’s coffers: the Potawatomi were giving lots of it to politicians, too, with Schreiber & Associates acting as an intermediary.

E-mails between the tribe and the Schreiber firm during the 2004 campaign in fact paint a picture of how intense special interest giving was during that summer. They also demonstrate just how much money the tribe had to give and how confusing and hard it was to keep track of the contributions.

A July 14, 2004 e-mail from Crawford to Walsh shows campaign activity moving at a whirlwind pace as the tribe was sorting out contributions to the Bush and Cheney campaigns.

“I am losing my mind on these checks,” Crawford wrote. “I need a call ASAP to determine which checks are to be mailed, to whom, when, and which checks are held for hand delivery. Every corner I go around has another layer of bureaucracy.”

Among other things, Crawford mentioned, the Bush campaign had informed him the tribe might not have sent in a check for the “Cheney Event,” and the tribe didn’t know how to handle other checks still in its possession.

“The Chairman has a handful of checks from the first wave memo and does not know what to do with them,” Crawford wrote. “Now we are processing wave 2 checks and our accounting wants to know if they should mail, to whom or hand deliver!!!!!”

Finally, Crawford told Walsh he was working to get himself and Frank to Washington, D.C., for the “President’s dinner” and wanted to know which checks counted for that.

This week, Walsh said the tribe had not decided what role it would play or how much money it would spend in next year’s elections, including the governor’s race.

“They’ve been focused on the state compacts, and have yet to turn attention to next year’s races,” he said.

But, in responding to a report last week in The Lakeland Times that the tribe had budgeted $7.2 million in politics/government budget for next year, Walsh said that didn’t mean the money would end up in campaign coffers.

Indeed, he said, the increased budget was due to anticipated resource needs related to a lawsuit filed by a Kenosha greyhound track alleging that all of the state’s gaming compacts are unconstitutional because of a 1993 state constitutional amendment barring the expansion of gaming.

“That suit could mean the end of tribal gaming in Wisconsin,” Walsh said.


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