Ernest Istook: Tribal campaign contributions not connected to letter

Friday, November 18th 2005, 6:27 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- An Oklahoma congressman is denying connections between campaign contributions he received from a lobbyist and a letter he signed opposing a Louisiana casino.

Representative Ernest Istook told The Associated Press the letter had no connection to campaign contributions from Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates. Campaign finance disclosure reports indicate Istook received $29,000 between 2001 and 2004.

Istook says he signed a letter in February 2002. It opposed the spread of gambling and specifically mentioned a casino proposed by the Jena Band of Choctaw tribe in Louisiana.

Abramoff was hired by the Louisiana Coushatta tribe to work against the rival casino over concerns if would compete with the Coushatta's gambling operation.