Editorial: Indian gaming influences national politics

"It's no surprise that the National Education Association was the nation's biggest political lobbyist in 2007 and 2008, dishing out $56.3 million in federal and state campaigns. But a new study reveals that the next three top donors were — hold on — American Indian tribes with gambling interests. Two of them are from California.

Americans need to follow that money and see what it's buying.

Six of the top 10 largest donors to political causes nationwide were Indian tribes, spending a total of $160 million, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics study. By comparison, the powerful Service Employees International Union spent $35 million and the National Association of Realtors dished out $28 million.

What's at stake?

At the federal level, the debate rages over whether Congress should legalize Internet gambling, which Indian tribes favor if they — not offshore companies — control the licenses. Encouraging Internet gambling would be a mistake, leading to increased gambling addiction and criminal activity. But the lure of hundreds of millions in tax revenue is a powerful temptation for lawmakers."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Guess who is among the top lobbying spenders in D.C. -- Indian gaming (The San Jose Mercury News 2/12)