Sunday, September 28, 2008

John McCain's Troubling Ties to the Gambling Industry

The modern Republican party has built its electoral strategy, to a significant extent, on appeals to "Christian" voters who supposedly oppose all forms of gambling.

So imagine the rich irony in today's New York Times article about GOP presidential nominee John McCain and his long personal and professional associations with the gaming industry.

This is another chapter in the evolving story about Republican hypocrisy on gambling. It's a story we are intimately familiar with in the Deep South, particularly here in Alabama.

The Times reporters do not go into this, but Republican corruption in the South is drenched in gambling connections. The prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, the best known case of politics driving a criminal investigation, has gambling at its core.

Republicans opposed Siegelman's education lottery out of fear it would provide competition for Indian gaming operations in Mississippi. And Jack Abramoff helped funnel some $13 million to Siegelman's opponent, Bob Riley.

And who went out of their way to hide an e-mail showing Riley's direct ties to the Abramoff operation? Why, none other than John McCain.

Those of us in Alabama already know about Republicans and their sleazy ties to gambling. But what do we learn specifically about McCain from today's Times piece and the investigative work of reporters Jo Becker and Don Van Natta Jr.?

* He has gambled at least once a month for most of his adult life, and weekend betting marathons in Las Vegas have been regular events;

* Only six members of Congress have received more financial support from the gaming industry than McCain--and five of those are from the gambling-rich states of Nevada and New Jersey;

* Mr. "Fiscal Responsibility" McCain, has voted twice for casino tax breaks that have cost the government $326 million over 12 years;

* Sig Rogich, a Las Vegas GOP kingmaker, raised some $2 million for McCain;

* Several McCain associates benefited financially from the Abramoff investigation. John Weaver, McCain's chief political strategist, made $100,000 over four months in 2005 for serving as a consultant to a tribe caught in the inquiry.

All of this does not come as a surprise to us here at Legal Schnauzer. The marriage between Republican greed and big gaming dollars has infected Alabama politics for years.

In fact, as I have researched events behind my unlawful termination at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), I have come across a number of people with ties to gaming and the Alabama Republican Party.

Evidence is building that people with connections to gambling had something to do with my firing at UAB.

We will be presenting that evidence over the next few weeks here at Legal Schnauzer.

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