Heffelfinger, Native Americans, and Voting Rights

I haven’t read all the coverage on Goodling’s confirmation of the reason behind Thomas Heffelfinger’s appearance on the firing list. But I’ve read a lot, and I’m really amazed by the coverage of the interchange. Goodling’s response to Ellison’s question about the reasons for Heffelfinger’s appearance on the list, Goodling said:

GOODLING:There were some concerns that he spent an extraordinary amountof time as the leader of the Native American Subcommittee of the AGACand put — clearly, people thought that that was important work, but Ithink there was some concern…

Goodling doesn’t specify what the problem with Heffelfinger’s NAIS involvement might be, so it could be any of several issues, including:

  • Resource issues
  • Gaming issues
  • Abramoff issues
  • Sovereignty issues
  • Cobell lawsuit
  • Voting rights
  • Violent crime

Yet all the reporting I’ve seen has portrayed this as a matter of Heffelfinger’s work against violent crime in the Native American community. To be fair, it is partly Heffelfinger’s fault:

When I hear some bureaucrat in Washington say I was working too hard to fight violent crime in Indian Country, I’m outraged

Still, did no one hear Ellison’s follow-up?