Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Cherokee councilors not aware of
by Clifton Adcockof The Tulsa World
Published: 12/30/2008 2:01 PM
A $50,000 donation made by the business arm of the Cherokee Nation to the inauguration fund of President-elect Barack Obama did not receive authorization by the tribe’s council and many council members were unaware of the donation until seeing news accounts of it or after receiving phone calls from constituents, the Tulsa World has learned.The donation is the maximum amount, and the largest donation from an Oklahoma entity, records show. It was contributed to the fund by Cherokee Nation Businesses.
Most donations of a political nature go through the Tribal Council’s PAC Committee, which consists of tribal council members and determines the amount of money to be given before sending the measures on to the full council where, if passed, the measure goes to the principal chief to sign or veto. Councilman Bill John Baker told the Tulsa World that the PAC Committee was set up a few years ago after a similar action happened with Cherokee Nation Enterprises donating money. Baker said the donation did not come before the PAC Committee or the full council. “I read it in the paper and council people started getting phone calls asking why would we do this?,” Baker said. “Well, we didn’t. I wish the council would have been made aware of it.” Cherokee Nation spokesman Mike Miller said the donation was authorized by Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Brad Carson from a fund designed for such donations, and that CNB officials had attempted to alert council members to the donation, but there had been a breakdown in communication.
Carson, a former two-term Democratic congressman, left his position as CEO just before Christmas after giving the donation. He was called up as an armed forces reservist, reportedly the U.S. Navy Reserve, for out of state deployment. The donation was different than those given during a political race because it was to the inauguration fund and not to a political campaign, Miller said.“This is not supporting one side over another side,” Miller said.