Opinion: Put tribal gaming money on the radar

"Why would Republicans call for a special legislative session for an issue as seemingly arcane as Indian gaming compacts? The answer: money. Since signing of the Davis compacts, Indian tribes have become one of the most powerful special interests in Sacramento. Since the signing of the Davis compacts, Indian Gaming tribes have spent more than $220 million on California politics.

For example, Republican Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia, the author of the Agua Caliente compact ratification, has received $118,000 in direct contributions from Indian gaming tribes during her political career. Six days after Garcia’s star performance on behalf of Agua Caliente, she received a $3,300 contribution from them, the maximum amount allowed under state law. She was recently the beneficiary of a half-million in spending by the Riverside County Republican Party—all fueled by Agua Caliente. Her mentor, Senator Jim Battin is utterly shameless about his addiction to tribal money: he’s taken $1.3 million in his career.

TV reporter Nannette Miranda reported this week that Agua Caliente Chairman Richard Milanovich says they're ready to financially help those politicians who supported their gaming expansion win their state races next month. Clearly, it’s time that California voters put tribal gaming money on their radar screen."

Get the Story:
Cheryl A. Schmit: California Republican Legislators Benefit After Pushing Casino Deal At End of Session--Abramoff Scandal Déjŕ Vu? (The California Progress Report 10/9)