Senator Elizabeth Warren has been desperately rehabbing her image ahead of a potential presidential run, and that includes worming her way into the good graces of Native American tribes so that they won't question her bizarre and unbelievable claim of Cherokee ancestry.
To do that, Warren is shepherding a controversial Indian casino bill through Congress, which subverts the Department of the Interior and gives money to a cast of shifty characters — and Republican Members of Congress appear ready and willing to help her get the law passed.
The Daily Wire reported on Warren's gamble several months ago, as she put the finishing touches on a bill that would give the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe the right to build a $1 billion resort in Massachusetts even though both the federal government and local residents don't want it.
That part of the story seems straightforward: Warren would help an Indian tribe get a casino even though the Department of the Interior denied them the license, and in return, Native Americans in her home state wouldn't question her tenuous claim to Native American ancestry, which she bases largely on racist caricatures of Indians (like "high cheekbones") that date back to the pioneer days.
But the issue gets more complicated. According to The Washington Free Beacon, which did a deep dive on the bill, "[t]he biggest push behind the effort has come from the Genting Group, a Kuala Lumpur-based company with a global portfolio of casino businesses that has $249.5 million invested in the troubled project and is slated to manage the First Light Resort & Casino if it's completed, according to Malaysian reports."
Genting Group is heavily involved in Malaysian politics and is allegedly connected to a corruption scandal that went all the way to the top of the Malaysian government, eventually ensnaring even a former prime minister.
According to filings, the Genting Group wanted nothing in return for backing the casino, except, it seems, the chance to get a foothold in the United States. It hired lobbyists to help push the casino bill in Congress and was courting Republicans before it found a willing accomplice in Warren.
And that's not all. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is historically affiliated with notorious lobbyist "Casino" Jack Abramoff, and Warren herself has engaged in a personal crusade against gambling. A Boston Herald columnist even recently took Warren to task, begging her to simply admit she was wrong in assuming her own Native American ancestry rather than sign on to a shifty bill.
But Warren can't get the bill passed without Republican help. In the Senate, the bill was referred to the Committee on Indian Affairs, which has yet to bring the measure to the floor. But in the House, a Republican, California Rep. Doug LaMalfa, is bringing a companion bill to the floor, designed to get House approval on Warren's pet project.
LaMalfa has ulterior motives, of course. FEC records show his campaign got a $9,000 donation from Genting Group's American lobbyists just days before he dropped his bill. The question still remains, though: if no one but sketchy interests want the bill, why go out of your way to help Elizabeth Warren clear her name, and whitewash her history?