Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Taunton, MA Casino: Are foreign dollars buying a local election?


What’s the difference between Foxboro and Taunton vis-à-vis casino referenda?   

Foreign money - and lots of it from overseas gaming interests who don’t report political expenditures to Massachusetts or U.S. Federal election officials.  Genting Malaysia, the world’s largest casino syndicate, is the financing behind the Mashpee Wapanoag tribe casino efforts. 

Via the Wampanoag and various lobbyists, tens of millions of dollars in cash from this foreign gambling syndicate has been spent in Massachusetts on lobbying, campaign contributions to local politicians and now direct funding to the City of Taunton for the running of a local election without any of the typically required campaign finance reporting.

In no other circumstance in U.S. elections do we see foreign dollars solely funding both the actual running of and campaigning for a local election.  Why, you ask, would a foreign company make such an investment and how is it possibly allowed?

Why? This election will determine whether or not the City of Taunton and the State of Massachusetts turns over all local control and jurisdiction on land where the Genting-backed Wampanoag will then establish a sovereign reservation from which un-regulated and un-taxed casino dollars will flow freely back to their Malaysian financiers.  According to Time Magazine’s report “Indian Casinos: Who Gets the Money”, these overseas backers funnel billions of dollars in tax-free, unregulated payments annually from Indian casinos located throughout the United States to their foreign bank accounts.  The Taunton Wampanoag Indian casino will yield Genting conservatively $200 - $400 million a year off the top of casino revenues to pay for their financing of the tribe - which is already tens of millions of dollars in debt to them.  Genting has said they are pursuing the creation of mini-Macau like gambling islands in the U.S. – but in this case the islands are Indian reservations.

How? Since Indian tribe and casino books cannot be audited and the foreign based financiers are not under the purview of state or federal tax oversight, the finances and expenditures are not open to any public scrutiny.  In the case of the Mashpee Wampanoag, the Tribal Council won’t even share the books with their own tribe members.  Not exactly the transparent scenario one would hope for either casino gaming operations or elections – both of which have a nasty history of corruption when there is no oversight, checks or balances.

Buying the Taunton election – spending $125 or more per vote 

With about 34,000 registered voters in the City of Taunton, MA - noting that fewer than 4,000 voted in the last major city election (Nov 2011) - the Genting-Wampanoag casino campaign team isn’t taking any chances.  The tribe, 100 percent funded by Genting Malaysia as it has no other income of its own, has budgeted a cool half-million dollars ($500,000) for the Saturday, June 8th non-binding referendum on whether or not to turn over town jurisdiction for an Indian reservation casino resort complex.  This $500,000 is on top of Genting-Wampanoag paying Taunton $340,000 to run the election and fund negotiations with the tribe and on top of the millions already invested in lobbyists and local political campaign contributions.

The highest possible voter turn-out for a non-binding, single issue ballot held on a Saturday in June is likely to be far less than a typical city election.  So the tribe will be spending more than $125 per vote.  That will easily mark this is as the most expensive per-vote election run in the City of Taunton.  In fact, that level of expenditure exceeds what was spent per vote for the most expensive senate races in the country during the last election.  Compared to Massachusetts elections, Mitt Romney had one of the most expensive per-vote campaigns when he ran for Governor – spending $16 per vote in 2006. Genting will be spending 700 to 1,000 percent more per vote to secure their Indian casino in Taunton. 

Local casino opponents have a budget of zero dollars.  Opposition groups are meeting in backyards and around kitchen tables.  Grassroots efforts, local volunteers and social media can and will help turn-out strong numbers at the Taunton polls.  Whether or not those efforts will be enough to counter the massive Malaysian’s expenditures is a tough call when there are still voters in Taunton who haven't heard the the whole unblemished story.  Why not? You see the Genting-Wampanoag casino support machine has run every public meeting about this measure that has been promoted by City officials to date.  That said, given that Genting paid the City for the this election some may say that it is only fair that they get the results they want (and paid for).

7 comments:

  1. How did the U.S. Government allow this to happen? De facto foreign ownership of Indian tribes to export casino cash out of the country is obscene. I'm sure this was never envisioned by lawmakers when they passed the laws enabling Indian casinos.

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  2. A real tribal memberMay 8, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Who do you think is paying for the PR and everything else not eh tribe itself.The tribe does not have any money except for grants (which can not be used for any of this.) So who do you think is paying for all of this to the tune of 17% interest no matter what Cedric Cromwell tells to his tribal members.Look at the money Genting spent in Florida to no avail.

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  3. Genting bought a Tribal Council and quite a few Tribe members with big salaries and perks. None of them had ever seen this kind of money before. Cromwell was fired from his affirmative action nothing job. Harding has a business that does not make enough to pay his subs. Tobey is a postal employee. Marie Stone is otherwise unemployable. Add to that the Tribe members who think that they will have restaurants or high paying jobs in a new casino. You get the picture.
    Cromwell and his entourage treat the citizens of his own tribe like subjects of his buzzard feather crown, how do you think he will treat the citizens of Taunton?

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    1. Could not have said it better Mr Moniz.It is a shame what Cedric Cromwell and his Posse are doing to this tribe all in the name of a big pay check and perks like credit cards trips free tickets to events for them and their family all that the tribe has and will pay back.

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  4. I used to be proud to say I was Wampanoag...now I'm ashamed.
    Clearly both Mashpee and Aquinnah are trying to build economic developement...yet at who's expense? Which one will host a museum that truly honors the history, the land and it's people?
    Both tribes claim Pocasset, Pokonoket and Seekonks tribal lands and history as their own. They haven't a clue as to this areas history and tribes...Being Federally recognized seperately pit tribe against tribe.
    Lets face it without Jackie O's land neighboring the reservation, Aquinnah never would have gotten recognized without the other Pokonoket tribes on the main land.
    Mashpee is a political machine thanks to the corrupt state office of Indian Affairs who has tried to take Pocasset soverign reservation for Mashpee for years now... heck they even started a new tribe called Assonet to take the Pocasset family lands given to them by the state in 1939. This was done deliberately to weaken the State recognized tribes.
    People are easily confused when you toss Dighton Inter Tribal into the mix...who host numerous powwows in Taunton and Dighton but have a number of "wannabees". I don't see Mashpees or Aquinnahs at anything local not Peace Haven/ Meditech hearings...not Taunton powwows, not Dighton powwows...and certainly not defending the sacred ground around Dightons Council Oak which is threatened to become a gravel pit...The gravel pit wants to use the soil in Taunton...mayby to fill in the wetlands of Mashpees industrial park casino?
    Who will bring honor back to the once proud Wampanoags?

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    1. Your comment is so nvery long but i just wanted to say this online casinos post is very nice .thats all

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    2. Oh honorable Wampanoag, who ever you are. Thank you.

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