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N.J. senator weighs in on BIA scandal

WASHINGTON, D.C. ? Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, D-N.J., said that the developing influence peddling scandal involving Phil Bersinger and Bureau of Indian Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Wayne Smith is a source of "serious concern" in a letter to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton.

"These allegations now raise serious suspicions about the BIA's decision making process in approving tribal land transfers and granting gaming rights, as much of the responsibility for these decisions fall within the jurisdiction of Deputy Assistant Secretary Smith," wrote Torricelli.

An investigation is currently underway and is being conducted by the Department of the Interior Inspector General's office. Smith has also provided information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.