Opinion: Indian gaming is a corrupting influence in California

Columnist claims wealthy gaming tribes are trying to take over California:
Yes, Native Americans were badly mistreated in history. But today is a different story thanks to casino revenues topping $7 billion a year in California and northern Nevada.

A Desert Sun investigation by reporter Keith Matheny last year found the state’s five largest tribes spent more than $4.8 million over a two-year period to lobby state officials in Sacramento, and that the Agua Caliente and Morongo tribes — along with two others — have spent nearly $250 million on politics since 2000.

Noted California journalist Joe Mathews said of the tribes, “They are getting the protection of a monopoly, sanctioned by the federal government and formalized by the states.”

In fact, Indian gaming has influenced — some might say corrupted — every level of government and nonprofit groups from the state Capitol to local Boy Scout troops, as the checks are doled out, both large and small.

And it’s easy to connect the dots between donations and getting a politician’s attention. Gov. Jerry Brown doesn’t make many public appearances. But when the governor attended two events at Los Angeles casinos last month, several news organizations noted they were the same casinos that had contributed tens of thousands of dollars to his re-election campaign and his ballot measures.

Get the Story:
Hank Plante: Tribes have overplayed their hands (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 1/7)

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