Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rhetorical question

Spivak and Bice are asking the question:

Doyle re-election coffers flow with tribal money

Is it Indian groups ensuring "good government" or casino interests buying an election?

My guess is that the Spice boys already know the answer to this question and the question is rhetorical.

The Spivak and Bice article-

Where there's a will, there's a way.

And Indian tribes here and elsewhere have found yet another way to help out Gov. Jim Doyle's re-election efforts.

Federal records show three tribes - the Mohegans in Connecticut and the Potawatomi and Oneida in Wisconsin - have poured $50,000 into the state Democratic Party's federal account in the past year.

That's on top of all the money that tribe members and others have given directly and indirectly to help ensure that the first-term Democrat wins a second term.

Here is the holier-than-thou explanation for the donations from the spokesman for the Mohegan tribe, which hopes to manage the $808 million off-reservation casino that is being proposed for Kenosha:

"They want to make sure that there is good government in Wisconsin," said Evan Zeppos, "and they think by supporting this fund they can help to ensure that."

Got that?

Not buying the "good government" argument is the campaign boss for Doyle's Republican opponent, U.S. Rep. Mark Green.

"I think it's clearly the casino interests trying to buy an election," growled Mark Graul, campaign manager for Green.

The Mohegans gave two $10,000 donations to the state Democratic Party's federal account, one in December and the second on Feb. 1. That was the same day executives of the Mohegan tribe or its gambling operation chipped in $6,000 directly to Doyle's account as part of an event organized by Dennis Troha, who is spearheading the Kenosha casino effort.

Even the Potawatomi tribe, which is bitterly opposed to the Kenosha project because it would cut into the profits the tribe is turning at its Milwaukee casino, is taking a cynical view of the Mohegans' donations.

"It's not unusual for the Potawatomi to be active in Wisconsin," said tribal flack Ken Walsh. "It may be a little more unusual for the Mohegans to be active in Wisconsin . . . but they have a very singular issue."

Besides, the Potawatomi tribe plays politics the old-fashioned way: It spreads money on both political parties. The tribe, based in Crandon, poured about $20,000 into the coffers of the state Democratic party in 2005-'06. Records show the Potawatomi sent 10 grand to the state GOP last year, and just this summer, Walsh said the tribe gave another $10,000 to state Republican groups.

Tribal giving is nothing new in Wisconsin. Three tribes dumped $725,000 into the coffers of the Democratic National Committee, which then sent the dough back to the state to help out Doyle. He then signed generous compacts deals - which have since been tossed out by the courts - which would have allowed tribal casinos to continue operating here for perpetuity.

Party officials brushed off questions of whether the Mohegans were using money to get on Doyle's good side. The governor has the final say on whether the Kenosha casino proposal will become a reality.

"I don't know what their intent is, except to help the Democratic Party of Wisconsin to turn out Democratic voters," said Michael Murphy, the party's top staffer. "Their intent is to turn out Democratic voters in the 2006 election."

As in the folks who will vote to keep Doyle in office.

1 comment:

This DJ said...

Kathy,

This is how the system works.

Is WMC trying to buy the election by giving truckloads of money to republicans? What about the Road Builders, who do the same?

Griping about this, without weighing the fact that the entire system is broken.

We need REAL Ethics Reform. We need something like SB 1.