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Tracking Tribal Cash and Influence to Washington: Santa Clara, Calif., July 10

The Particulars

1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
July 10, 2014

Russ Choma,

money-in-politics reporter at the
Center for Responsive Politics

Bayshore West,
Hyatt Regency
5101 Great America Parkway,
Santa Clara, Calif.

Co-Presenter:  Center for
Responsive Politics

Hosts: Native American
Journalists Association (NAJA). This
workshop precedes NAJA’s
convention July 10-13
at the
Hyatt Regency Santa Clara.

Hotel: Hyatt Regency
5101 Great America Parkway,
Santa Clara, Calif. Conference
rates available.

Cost: Free. Paid conference
registration is not required.

Registration is now closed.

Photo by Frank Swift

In Washington, money helps make just about every decision — every law that is passed, every regulation revised and every new or discarded agency policy.

From issues unique to Native Americans, such as tribal sovereignty and Bureau of Indian Affairs programs, to broader issues – natural resources management, environmental stewardship and immigration reform – that may have unique implications for Native communities, money is often the deciding factor.

In the last two decades, tribes and Native communities have begun asserting themselves in Washington like never before. Dozens of tribes have made use of new economic prosperity to hire powerful lobbyists and write campaign checks that make lawmakers pay attention.

While many groups have been marginalized or shut out of the influence game by the rising cost, the Center for Responsive Politics data show that the pace of tribes’ and Native communities’ spending in Washington has only quickened. While much of the impetus for this new power in Washington is related to casino gaming, the conversation being driven by tribal money now goes far beyond that one issue.

This free workshop will teach journalists how to tap into the world of money and influence in Washington, and better understand how decisions affecting tribes and Native communities are being influenced — and who is trying to influence them.

This workshop preceded the Native American Journalists Association convention.


  • How to identify the individuals and organizations – inside and outside the Native American world – trying to influence key issues for Native American tribes and communities.
  • How to make use of a variety of easily accessible tools to follow the money trail, from tribal and Native communities across the continent, all the way to the lobbyists on K Street working for – and against – them.
  • How to identify campaign donors – including ones in your own community –  and political action committees supporting politicians working for and against key issues.


Political, business and general assignment reporters and their editors will all benefit.


Russ Choma, reporter with American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop

Russ Choma

Russ Choma is the money-in-politics reporter at the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org. His work has appeared in several publications including the Investigative Reporting Workshop, Nieman Watchdog, Politics Daily, Grist.org and MSNBC.com. He has a degree in political science from Muhlenberg College and an M.A. in journalism and public affairs from American University. His series, “Blown Away: Tracking stimulus grants for renewable energy,” found that more than 80 percent of the first $1 billion in grants to wind-energy companies went to foreign firms, and many renewable-energy projects that received stimulus cash were built well before President Obama was even inaugurated.


Please do not register unless you are sincere about participating.  Signing up and not participating deprives someone else of the opportunity.

Those who successfully complete three regional workshops or online seminars presented by the Reynolds Center are eligible to receive a “Circle of Achievement” certificate.

This free workshop is sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. If you have any questions about the workshop or the center, please email Executive Director Linda Austin or call 602-496-9187.

In 2014, Investigation, Story ideas, Training.

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