Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has been working with a local Native American tribe in Massachusetts to push through authorization for a new casino on federal land — a casino that local Massachusetts residents, and the federal government, have repeatedly said they don't want.
But the bill to build the casino died in the senate late last year, and now, it seems, some of Warren's fellow Democrats may be to blame.
The Washington Times reports that the bill, which would have allowed the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to build a "$1 billion resort in Taunton, Massachusetts," never made it to the senate floor, thanks to the efforts of the two Democratic senators from Rhode Island, Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed, who pleaded with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to let the bill die in committee.
The bill reappeared in the House last week, this time sponsored by Reps. William Keating and Joe Kennedy III, both Massachusetts Democrats.
The bill overrides a federal court's decision not to award the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe around 300 acres to build the billion-dollar tribal casino, based on rules granting tribal land only to those tribes recognized in an early-20th century federal agreement. The Mashpee Wampanoag received federal recognition, the Times reports, in 2007.
"As a result, federally recognized tribes in Rhode Island would argue that they hold the same standing as the Massachusetts tribe and request that similar legislation be introduced on their behalf,” the two Rhode Island senators wrote. “As you know, we have long opposed doing so due to potential conflicts with the 1978 Rhode Island Indian Claims Settlement Act, which ensures that settlement lands remain subject to Rhode Island state law.”
Warren adopted the Mashpee Wampanoag cause in 2018, likely in anticipation of her presidential run — and in anticipation of the heat she could receive from Native American tribes concerned that she was appropriating Native American ancestry without any concrete genealogical evidence.
Although she was not an original co-sponsor of the tribe's Senate bill, Warren made a clear point of speaking out on behalf of the tribe's interests, at one point even "unloading" on the Trump administration over the tribal casino, The Washington Times also reports, accusing the administration of perpetrating "injustice."
"The decision by the Trump administration to move forward with denying the Mashpee Wampanoag a right to their ancestral homeland and to keep their reservation is an injustice,” she said in a statement in September.
Warren has even championed the tribe's rights over her constituents' needs. Fox News reports that local residents of Brockton, Massachusetts, near where the tribe wants to build its billion dollar property, have their own casino and fear that a competing resort would deprive the already economically stressed town of more jobs and more money — a situation they simply can't afford and wish the Massachusetts Democrat, who claims to be a champion of the working man, would notice and acknowledge.
“Year after year we’re running multimillion-dollar deficits in our budget. We’ve laid off schoolteachers for three years in a row. We desperately need the revenue," the town's mayor told Fox.
To top it off, the casino has some shady connections. It's backed by Malaysia’s Genting Group, The Washington Free Beacon reports, which is using the Massachusetts project to bail out other failed casino projects abroad, and is allegedly connected to a massive government graft scheme in Malaysia as well as to notorious former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to The Boston Globe.