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Interior secretary resigns

Gale Norton leaves at a time when her agency is part of a lobbying scandal over Indian gaming licenses.

Associated Press
Published March 11, 2006

WASHINGTON - Interior Secretary Gale Norton resigned Friday after five years in President Bush's Cabinet and at a time when her agency is part of a lobbying scandal over Indian gaming licenses.

In a letter to Bush, Norton said the resignation would be effective at the end of March.

"Now I feel it is time for me to leave this mountain you gave me to climb, catch my breath, then set my sights on new goals to achieve in the private sector," her letter said.

Bush called Norton a strong advocate for "the wise use and protection of our nation's natural resources."

Leaders of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee have said e-mails show that Steven Griles, Norton's former deputy, had a close relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Abramoff pleaded guilty in January to federal felony charges related to congressional influence peddling and defrauding Indian tribes in Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas of millions of dollars.

[Last modified March 11, 2006, 01:44:48]

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