Friday, July 22, 2011

C'mon, another $254,000 in campaign cash from casino lobbyists?

As recently reported the numbers are in for the first six months of 2011 and lobbyists on behalf of casino, Indian gaming and slot machine companies were paid a record $1.3 in the first six months of 2011, piling onto the $3 million from 2010 they received to influence gambling legislation in Massachusetts.  And how much of this largess did these lobbyists share with our elected officials via campaign contributions?  More than $250,000!  Given that lobbyists are limited to $200 contributions per official they really had to work hard to get that much cash into our legislators pockets in a short six month reporting period.

Of course, the top recipients still include Therese Murray with $8,499, and no surprise Governor Deval Patrick still just couldn't keep his promise to shun casino cash (re-iterated just a week prior to the release of this latest contribution report) and took a paltry $2,000 from lobbyists for the Wampanoag's (paid by their Malaysian backers), the Massasoit Greyhound Association (a.k.a. Raynham Park - where the Wampanoag's now plan their slots-in-a-box reservation), Boyd Gaming in Louisiana and Paper City Development.

If the Governor spent as much time paying attention to who was handing him checks as doing interviews outside of Massachusetts to promote his presidential ambitions he wouldn't keep having to explain red faced to the Globe and Herald how he doesn't "count every check" each time he's caught breaking his own rules.

As for other politicians turned lobbyist, Bill Delahunt has finally filed required lobbying paperwork disclosing his $15,000 a month deal with the Wampanoag for "advocacy and representation on behalf of client's rights on gaming" without any detail regarding the specific legislation or elected offices for which he performed these services.  Could it be that former Congressman Delahunt was sneaking in some federal lobbying from which he's still precluded by law?  Why else would the Wampanoags also be paying two other firms (Robert White Associates & Smith, Ruddock and Hayes) to help them lobby the state legislature for their tribal preference carve out scheme?  To whom was former Congressman Delahunt lobbying for the Wampanoag's "rights on gaming" if not the feds or state legislators?

Lest we forget, former Patrick aide Doug Rubin also reported being paid $55,000 by GTECH to lobby the Massachusetts Treasurers Office on gaming issues.  $55,000 is a lot of wampum for six months worth of lobbying one state office.  But it appears to have paid off for the former Patrick aid as Treasurer Steve Grossman appears on board moving state gaming forward even if it will likely reduce state lottery income.

With all this cash floating around, it's no wonder everyone claims casinos in Massachusetts are a foregone conclusion.

No comments:

Post a Comment