In less than four years, his administration has settled major tribal royalties disputes that had languished for years, relaxed a Bush-era rule that limited new, off-reservation casinos, included new health benefits for tribes in the sweeping 2010 health care overhaul and helped advance a landmark law that gives tribes power to prosecute serious crimes.
Now, tribes are opening their checkbooks to aid his re-election.
Tribal governments have donated more than $1 million to his campaign and his joint fundraising efforts with the Democratic National Committee. They gave $264,000 to Obama in the 2008 election, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data compiled by the non-partisan Political MoneyLine. The analysis does not include any additional money contributed by individual tribal members or the employees of tribal enterprises.
Obama has received more money directly from tribes than any other 2012 federal candidate, MoneyLine’s tally shows. Republican presumptive presidential nomineeMitt Romney, by contrast, has received $3,000 combined from two tribal sources, Oklahoma’s Chickasaw Nation and the Prairie Island Tribal Council in Welch, Minn., according to federal data.
Obama “has done more for Indian country than any president I can remember,” said Chief James Allan, chairman of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in northern Idaho, which donated $35,800 this year to Obama and his joint fundraising committee.