Cherokee Nation officials said they hope their generosity toward President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration committee — as well as donations to several political campaigns — will give the tribe some more clout in Washington.
The tribe donated $50,000 to Obama’s inauguration committee, the highest donation allowed, according to the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee Web site.
The tribe’s chief and tribal council decide who receives political donations, tribal spokesman Mike Miller said Friday.
During the recently completed presidential campaign, the Cherokee Nation donated to Obama’s, Hillary Clinton’s and John McCain’s campaigns.
Tribal officials hope the inauguration donation sends a message that the tribe wants to be involved with any possible policy development, Miller said.
"What happens in Washington, D.C., is important to Indian tribes all over the country,” Miller said. "Building a relationship right off the bat with the administration is important.”
Nearly $39 million in donations of $200 or more had been made to help pay for Obama’s inauguration as of Friday afternoon, according to the committee Web site.
Here are the top five Oklahoma donors after the Cherokee Nation:
• Attorney Reggie Whitten of Edmond donated $25,000.
• Joanna Cooper, owner of Broken Arrow Nursing Home, donated $500.
• Businessman Michael Smith, who owns Design Resources, donated $250.
• Attorney Angela Ables of Oklahoma City donated $200 to the committee.
• Dr. Raymond Brown, 47, of Muskogee contributed $200.