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"To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch... to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!"

-Ralph Waldo Emerson



"Tom is ... the best and foremost Native American advocate, strategist and lobbyist."

Jim Messina, Former Deputy Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama and 2012 Presidential National Campaign Director (March 29, 2013)

Tom successfully waged one the most important Native American Voting Rights efforts of the last ninety years, which provided Native Americans on remote, poverty-stricken reservations in Montana with equal access to voting. The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union and National Congress of American Indians, intervened in the Wandering Medicine v. McCullough case on behalf of Native Americans who prevailed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in June 2014 stated that the Montana native voting rights "conditions are unacceptable and they are outrageous...As a nation, we cannot -- and we will not -- simply stand by as the voices of Native Americans are shut out of the democratic process."

This movement recruited an additional powerful ally in former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who called for an end to "the significant and unnecessary barriers that for too long have confronted American Indians and Alaska Natives in attempting to cast their ballots." Lynch gave meaning to her words by codifying and transmitting to the then President of the United States Senate (Vice President) Joe Biden and former House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner the litigation goals of Wandering Medicine for enactment into law, which would be the largest political empowerment of Native Americans since the passage of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.

In 2016, building upon the success in Montana, Tom and his colleagues secured another judicial landmark decision in the federal district court of Nevada, which provided for equal access to the polls for Native Americans in that state. In 2018, Tom secured the necessary financial resources to support the Native American voting rights litigation brought by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe versus the state of North Dakota. In 2019, Tom and his voting rights team currently represent the Navajo Nation in its lawsuit against the state of Arizona, whose central issue is once again, equal access to voting for Native Americans. In April 2019, Tom and his voting rights team began moving into North Carolina's 9th congressional district special election on behalf of Native Americans in order to optimize the native vote.

Tom is also now engaged in a covenant. It is a covenant made to himself and to a man's 88-year-old son. It is a covenant so that this son may provide peace for his father's soul. This covenant is nothing more than to bring Wa-tho-huck home to the people of the Sac and Fox Nation. For Wa-tho-huck is the "light after the lightning." He is the legendary Jim Thorpe and his spirit and soul now sadly travel with the wind and the leaves. It is Tom's sacred covenant to this son to honor Wa-tho-huck's life and to those who came after him by remembering that for all of us, time began when we first answered to the names our mother and father gave us. This is our societal debt, a debt to those dead and living that can only be discharged by living for them, protecting them and ultimately healing them as night heals the body. This pro bono effort was profiled in the July 2016 edition of ESPN Magazine.

Tom was the main whistleblower in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, which according to the Washington Post was the largest congressional lobbying scandal in the last one hundred years and led to the largest rewrite of national ethics laws since the Watergate scandal. For his pro bono whistleblower efforts, Tom received an honorary master's Scholar in Ethics award from the University of Denver Law School. He worked with Oscar winning director Alex Gibney and appeared in the documentary "Casino Jack and The United States of Money" released at Sundance Film Festival. The University of Denver Law School created the "Tom C. Rodgers O-tee-paym-soo-wuk Ethics in Government Law School Scholarship" in his honor, a full ride $160,000 scholarship awarded to a Native American student seeking to attend law school. O-tee-paym-soo-wuk is a Cree Indian word for "a person who owns himself." Tom has financially supported Native American United States Senate internships and endowed two additional college scholarships. The foregoing scholarships/internships total approximately $250,000.

As a result of his tax expertise and leadership Tom was asked to interview for the position of U.S Treasury Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, an invitation that he declined. During Tom's career he has secured a net positive tax credit impact specifically for his Native American clients and Indian Country generally in excess of $10 billion. This includes not only helping to lead the congressional tax efforts as involves the Native American accelerated wage and depreciation credit, but also the defeat in committee of former Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer's $4 billion attempt to tax Native American unrelated business income and leadership of the largest ever tax provision for Native Americans -- the creation of a $2 billion tribal economic development bond proposal that was incorporated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

At the request of then Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Tom was appointed in 2009 to the United States Senate Affordable Care Act Advisory Board and it was in this position that Tom led the effort to secure the attachment of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to the Affordable Care Act that was signed into law in 2010 by then President Barack Obama.

In 2016, Tom had the vision to initiate the very first national baseline cannabis tax analysis in preparation for congressional tax reconciliation efforts following the Presidential election. This cannabis tax revenue baseline, which was highlighted in Rolling Stone magazine, served as the foundational analysis for the Congressional Joint Tax Committee and the entire cannabis industry during consideration by Congress for inclusion in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Tom is now drafting the first Native American cannabis bill. In addition, when the state of Massachusetts sought advice on possible cannabis legislation and traveled to Colorado to conduct its due diligence, they contacted Tom to assist them in that effort. In 2018, Tom additionally led the successful national cannabis campaign effort to defeat the number one opponent of the legalization of cannabis, former Representative Pete Sessions of Texas. Tom is now engaged in completing a national cannabis coalition study effort to quantify the fiscal and health care premium impact of the substitution effect of medical marijuana vis a vis opioid usage.

Tom is currently building a Native American coalition to address the deadliest drug epidemic of our time, the national opioid crisis. To date, Tom's efforts have led to a successful outcome whereby the tribal governments Tom is assisting are the bellwether tribes in the national opioid litigation. Tom was sought out by former Representative Patrick Kennedy, who served on President Trump's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, for his advice and public policy recommendations as to what was needed to address the opioid epidemic in Indian Country. Tom is now moving his opioid efforts to Canada by assembling the first ever First Nations opioid conference on May 6-7, 2019 in Calgary, Alberta.

In 1994, Tom founded Carlyle Consulting, a strategic consulting/government affairs/media relations firm located in Alexandria, Virginia. From 1990 to 1993, Tom served as tax legislative counsel to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus. Tom also served as one of the tax advisors to the 2000 Presidential Campaign of former Senator John McCain. Tom served as tax counsel to United States Tax Court Judge Marvin F. Peterson. Tom obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics, a J.D., and an L.L.M in Taxation at the University of Denver. He went on to obtain a Masters in International Public Policy with an emphasis in China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He also attended the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Executive MBA program.

Tom, an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation, has raised over $1.7 million dollars in charity for Native American youth, tribal governments, Native American financial literacy programs, and Native American voting rights efforts. Tom's charitable spirit is further demonstrated by the $10,000 dollars he raised for the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation in order to honor the loved and lost of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting. He was recently honored to be asked to be in the wedding of a formerly homeless ex-felon who Tom has helped co-sponsor for over 17 years.

Tom raised over $100,000 to assist the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their efforts to raise awareness of their concern for their land and water that was threatened by the Dakota Access pipeline. Tom has also sought to give back to native people by co-leading the successful national effort to reverse the grizzly bear delisting from the Endangered Species Act. At the request of the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, Tom is currently organizing a national tribal campaign to rename a Yellowstone National Park geographic feature that was named after an individual who in 1870 slaughtered over 200 Blackfeet women and children and then stated once the shooting had ended..."whatever is left use the pickaxes on them."

Tom is engaged in helping to co-lead the federal and state efforts to address the MMIW (Missing Murdered Indigenous Women) epidemic in Indian Country. Tom's ideas and efforts to date have led to the introduction of MMIW legislation by Senator Jon Tester of Montana, as well as securing specific future amendments by Senator Tester and Senator Steve Daines to Savannah's Act. The foregoing pro bono MMIW efforts by Tom are being incorporated in a national documentary on the MMIW crisis.

Tom is also engaged in a team effort to successfully litigate against the United States government for the Indian Health Service pedophile crimes by Stanley Patrick Weber which were highlighted by a joint investigation by Frontline PBS and the Wall Street Journal.

Tom has been the leader or co-leader on virtually every issue he has confronted, which includes the following: being the Jack Abramoff whistleblower, voting rights litigation, Jim Thorpe repatriation campaign, opioid epidemic, cannabis legalization, Native American sacred animals and sacred sites campaign, MMIW, tax legislation, pedophile litigation, and the above charitable record. These efforts have led to Tom being interviewed by numerous media outlets which further highlight this leadership record.

These media outlets include the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, USA Today, Rolling Stone Magazine, The Hill, The Huffington Post, BBC, The Nation, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, The Atlantic, Roll Call, Financial Times, Bloomberg News, Talking Points Memo, Washingtonian, Indian Country Today, Democracy NOW, and the National Press Club. In addition, he has become a nationally-recognized speaker on Native American issues, politics, and ethics. He especially enjoys speaking to high school and college students who are tomorrow's leaders. In that spirit, he is seeking to construct the very first Emily's List program supporting Native American women running for elected office.



Tom Rodgers (born July 28, 1960) is a Washington, DC, activist and advocate for Native Americans and tribal issues. He is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, and is a nationally-recognized commentator on Native American issues, politics, and ethics. In 1994, Rodgers founded Carlyle Consulting, a governmental/media/public relations firm located in Alexandria, Virginia that represents the interests of Native Americans.




"Tom is ... the best and foremost Native American advocate, strategist and lobbyist."
Jim Messina (March 29, 2013). Former Deputy Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama and 2012 Presidential National Campaign Director

"I reached out to you because I had heard you were a warrior for native people and that you are a man who owns himself. ...I came to know that as a young boy you believed life was joy. But you awoke as a man and saw that life is service. ...By your deeds you will have demonstrated that a life of service is joy and you can truly say of that life the Blackfeet words ‘Suu-kop-ee' is good."
Bill Thorpe, the 88 year old son of the legendary athlete Jim Thorpe (2016). Bill has requested that Tom seek to bring Jim Thorpe's body home so that Bill and Jim can lie next to one another for eternity.

"... [Tom] has demonstrated great skill in maneuvering my tax proposals through the legislative process (many of them were included in the Revenue Act of 1992). In fact, when the Tax Foundation honored me as "Tax Policymaker of the Year" in 1991 I considered it in large part a tribute to Tom's work."
Senator Max Baucus (1992). Former U.S. Ambassador to China, was the second longest serving Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the longest serving member of that committee in United States history. In 2014, he also praised Tom's national Native American Get out The Vote efforts.

"To Tom: A man who always steers away from the dark side"
Alex Gibney (January 2010). Oscar winning documentary director and producer. Tom appeared in and co-produced with Alex Gibney the documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money, which won a grand jury prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

"[Tom Rodgers], one of the country's biggest champions for Native Americans"
Susan McCue, former Chief of Staff to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (December 2016)

"Tom, you are a force of nature."
Stephanie Schriock, President of Emily's List, the nation's most influential pro-choice political action committee (June 2016).

"... As I graduate this May. I wanted to thank you again for everything that you've done and for setting up this scholarship. Words cannot describe my deep appreciation. Without this scholarship I could not have attended DU and would have been unable to experience the numerous opportunities that came with it. Thank you so much again, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am incredibly fortunate to have been given this honor."
Kyle Montour (March 19, 2015). Mohawk tribal member and recipient of the Tom C. Rodgers University of Denver Ethics in Government Law School Scholarship

"Dear Alumni and Friends: Professionalism is like mom and apple pie: Everyone is for it, but actually doing it – and doing it well – is not easy. Lawyers are regularly confronted with difficult ethical issues. Often no one other then the lawyer ever learns of the resolution of these difficult issues. Such is not the case, however, with Tom Rodgers (JD '86, LLM '88). In this issue, you will learn about how Tom responded to a difficult situation, and how he courageously chose to follow his conscience even though that decision was likely to cost him much. In doing so, Tom exemplified the very highest ideals of professionalism as a lawyer."
Dean José R. Juárez, Jr. University of Denver Sturm College of Law (2009). Forward to alumni magazine with cover story about Tom's role in exposing Jack Abramoff.

"Tom, we need to have you remain alive my friend for another 40 years. You are a true never lose and we have so many battles left to fight."
William Snell - Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council (2019).

"Tom, you are an icon of integrity."
Frank Sharry, Founder and Executive Director of America's Voice and America's Voice Education Fund, a leading organization dedicating to policy changes that guarantee full labor, civil and political rights for immigrants and their families (2014).

"I just got done reading the final story and off the phone with the editors...without you none of this would have been possible, and I hope you know how deeply appreciative I am."
Jo Becker, Senior Reporter, New York Times (September 2008)

"You my friend, should be getting the medal of honor. America owes you big time."
Philip H. Hilder, Hilder & Associates, P.C. (April 17, 2006). Attorney for Thomas Rodgers, as well as for Sharon Watkins, Enron whistleblower and TIME Magazine's Person of the Year.



Native American Poverty by Tom Rodgers 12/10/08

A Challenge Too Often Ignored
“To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a
land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships.”
– W.E.B. Du Bois

No discussion of poverty, and of the need to renew
opportunity in America, can be complete without a
frank consideration of the situation faced by Native
Americans. With a worsening economy, the inevitable
churn of holiday stories about the least fortunate, and a
new Administration, now is the right time for meaningful
action to address poverty in Native American

read more >

Three Native American legislative amendments were passed out of Committee, September 2005:

1. Subjecting the NIGC to Government Performance Results Act (GPRA);

2. Including Native American Tribes as the equivalent of state and local governments for the purposes of the Endangered Species Act (which passed out of Committee yesterday); and

3. Section 101 of the Indian Technical Corrections Bill (HR3351)

With all of the above items I have conceived the concept, built and directed the coalition to convince the public-policy makers, and have had the concept included in a Committee Markup Bill. As a result, these concepts are included as part of the respective Committee Chairman's bill.

I have also conceived and I am currently leading, a coalition to have a Native American Tax-Exempt Bond hearing in the US Senate Finance Committee.

I feel these accomplishments point to my ability to conceive an idea and build a coalition, which results in becoming a part of the Chairman's bill.

I am very proud of my accomplishments for the first session of the 109th Congress. I am even more proud that one of the amendments I did completely pro bono.

I was able to raise over $200,000 for a Native American Tribe to assist them after their Reservation was severely damaged by Hurricane Rita.

Tom Rodgers



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