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Tribe Hires Dan Lungren

A California tribe has hired former state attorney general Dan Lungren to represent it in Washington DC.

The announcement by the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians near Palm Springs surprised other tribes who recall Lungren´s opposition to tribal gaming in California – a position he made a campaign issue in his unsuccessful bid for governor in 1998.

But Lungren has ties to top Bush administration officials, including Interior Secretary Gale Norton.

One of Lungren´s top aides was Wayne Smith, now the number two official at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Federal investigators are probing whether Smith´s friend and former business partner improperly claimed influence with the administration.