Thursday, September 16, 2010
Sifuentes: Tribes Tightening Up on Political Contributions in CA
North County Times reporter Edward Sifuentes has a good article about the tribes spending less money on the upcoming elections. As always, the links tell more of the story. Unlike previous elections, when tribes spent millions on campaigns, gambling tribes in North County and southwest Riverside County are not donating as much money this year. OP: Many know they already have Jerry Brown in the bag. Of the five North County tribes with casinos, only the Pala Band of Mission Indians has broken the $10,000 mark to qualify as a "major donor," according to the secretary of state, which keeps campaign finance records. Even Pala, which helped raise $17 million to defeat several 2008 ballot measures expanding gambling at other tribal casinos, has spent less than $40,000 on campaign contributions this year, according to the secretary of state. Tribes have become more targeted in their giving, said David Quintana, a tribal gambling consultant and lobbyist. "Tribal governments have become more sophisticated," Quintana said. "It's not just throwing huge wads of money at individuals or ideas." OP: Sophisticated, or CHEAP? The Pechanga Band of Mission Indians in Temecula has made nearly $300,000 in campaign donations. Much of the money was for statewide causes, such as $50,000 to the California Democratic Party and another $50,000 to the California Republican Party in April. In a written statement, Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro said the tribe is simply trying to protect its rights. "History has demonstrated that abstaining from the political process results in catastrophic policies against our people, our culture and our inherent rights," Macarro said. "Our goal is simple: to protect our historic rights so that we may survive another generation." OP: Pechanga history has shown that by forcing members out, thereby controlling the voters, means you keep your job, you get more money by stealing their per capita, you save by cutting members' health care and education assistance. Then you force them back on the state doles, taking them from high income taxpayers to, in some cases destitute and without quality healthcare. The $300,000 figure is a relatively small sum compared with what tribes spent in recent elections. Tribes spent nearly $100 million in 2008 in one of the most expensive ballot battles in the state's history. Pechanga spent nearly $50 million more than the other three tribes with propositions. Remember how Pechanga tried to keep Californian's from voting on the issue of expanded gaming? And hey, how has that worked out for us so far? Did it help our budget?