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Non-Native A decision in June by the Cherokee Nation to restrict tribal citizenship to Native American descendants of a 1906 census, effectively denying membership to former slaves granted tribal privileges in an 1866 treaty, has already spawned litigation in tribal and federal courts. Now the tribe is working to keep the dispute off of Capitol Hill. Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, which represents the Cherokee Nation in litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, has retained the Podesta Group to lobby on the “Freedmen” issue. The Freedmen cause gained traction this summer when members of the Congressional Black Caucus expressed outrage over their expulsion. Last month, the firm added McBee Strategic Consulting to the Cherokee Nation’s roster of lobbyists. McBee is perhaps a natural fit: Its primary lobbyist on the Cherokee contract is Casey Sixkiller, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation who helped found the tribe’s D.C. legislative office before joining the staff of Sen. Patricia Murray (D-Wash.) as a legislative assistant. The tribe’s expenditures on the two lobbying firms add up to $37,500 a month. Both items of Freedmen legislation that the Cherokee Nation opposes revolve around federal aid. The more punitive of the two, authored by Rep. Diane Watson, (D-Calif.), strips the Cherokee Nation of both federal recognition and $300 million in support for housing, social services, and other programs. Consequently, an attorney for Orrick says, both Podesta and McBee will focus much of their efforts on appropriation matters. The nation has also begun a public relations offensive featuring mixed-race members of the tribe in an effort to showcase its diversity, and Cherokee officials, including nation Principal Chief Chad Smith, have also been making the rounds on the Hill. A principal message, according to Mike Miller, a spokesman for the nation, is patience. He argues there’s no rush to legislate: The descendants of Freedmen ejected from the tribe have been temporarily reinstated pending the outcome of the federal and tribal court fights. As the issue is in the courts, Miller argues that Congress need not act. “Doing so would only hurt the young, elderly, and infirm Cherokees who count on federal health, housing, and education aid, including the 2,800 who have been temporarily reinstated,” Miller says in a statement made through an Orrick attorney. The tribe’s arguments won’t go unopposed: Tom Downey of Downey McGrath is representing the Freedmen on the Hill pro bono. He could not be reached for comment. — Jeff Horwitz
Security Scrutiny The trade association representing private security companies operating in Iraq has hired its first lobbyist. This comes as Congress moves toward more aggressive oversight of the security firms in the wake of several armed clashes between private guards and Iraqi nationals. The Private Security Company Association of Iraq hired Jeffery Green, the former counsel for the House Armed Services Committee who left the Hill earlier this year to open his own firm, J.A. Green & Co. Green says he had previously been consulting for the group, which has about 40 members, and the association decided in September that it also needed him to lobby. Green says circumstances “led the association to decide it was better to have an advocate that could go to Capitol Hill and explain the position of the industry and talk about some of the transparency and accountability initiatives under way in Iraq.” The Iraq security industry has been rocked by recent hearings looking into the behavior of Blackwater USA, a member of the association, in an altercation that ended in the death of Iraqi civilians. — Carrie Levine

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