Rincon Leader: Schwarzenegger among worst offenders of IGRA

"In 1988, when Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act two United States senators, John McCain and Daniel Inouye, with prominent Congressman Morris Udall, promised in separate statements in the Congressional Record that if states tried to take advantage of the bill to encroach on tribal sovereignty or to tax tribes, they would be the first to yell foul.

As feared, states did take advantage of the bill. And Congress failed to respond. Combined with the Supreme Court’s Seminole decision (allowing states to avoid court ordered arbitrations when they engaged in bad faith compact negotiations), the concerns of tribal leaders were realized. Without protection against bad faith practices by states, tribal negotiations have often been hijacked by governors through political blackmail, stalling, and infinite legal challenges.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has been among the worst offenders. Today, in California, tribes may get new compacts, but only if they are willing or desperate enough to pay a heavy price. Just because IGRA mandates that tribes are the “primary beneficiaries of gaming, and the law is meant to “ensure that gaming is protected as a means of generating tribal revenue,” it doesn’t mean a governor will honor the law. Throughout our history, states have been snubbing federal laws and court decisions protecting tribal rights when it suits their purposes and most often when it benefits them economically.

It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last, that tribes are given a promise that goes bad. That’s why the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians took on the lengthy and expensive court battle to protect the tribe’s hard-earned right to be the primary beneficiaries of gaming and to stop the tribe’s governmental revenue from being swallowed up in the gaping black hole that is the California budget."

Get the Story:
Bo Mazzetti: Blame the governor, not the Department of the Interior (Indian Country Today 9/10)

9th Circuit Decision:
Rincon Band v. Schwarzenegger (April 20, 2010)

Earlier Story:
Rincon Chair: Schwarzenegger flouted Indian gaming law(5/7)
Court decision strikes at revenue-sharing in casino deals (4/30)
Column: Court ruling could hurt support for tribal casinos (4/29)
Editorial: California tribes can't get free ride on casinos (4/26)
Editorial: California deserves a share of tribal revenues (4/26)
Editorial: Appeal decision on tribal compact negotiation (4/23)
Column: Tribal casino revenues no sure bet in California (4/23)
Republican nominees decided compact negotiation case (4/22)
California tribal casino sharing fund slowly losing money (4/22)
Schwarzenegger to ask for rehearing in compact lawsuit (4/21)
Rincon Band wins case on Class III compact negotiation (4/20)
Pauma Band awaits final ruling in gaming compact case (4/19)
Judge indicates he might invalidate Pauma casino compact (4/6)
Another California tribe wins case over slot machine cap (3/31)