When I first heard the State of Ohio was turning to Keno to solve it’s budget problems, I was wondering who was smoking crack in Columbus? When I saw it was our Democratic Governor, who also is a methodist minister, it seemed even odder. Today we learn it’s the campaign money crack pipeline that brought this “wonderful idea” to life:
Firms vying for Keno contract
Lobbyists and executives for two firms with a chance to operate the state-run Keno gambling machines proposed by Gov. Ted Strickland have donated thousands of campaign dollars to the Democratic governor and his party.
The money came from representatives of GTech Corp., the state’s current online gaming vendor, and Intralot USA, which has bid against GTech and a third firm for a new state contract for online lottery services that went out in October.
Lottery spokeswoman Mardele Cohen said the contract did not specifically include Keno, which the governor said Thursday could raise $73 million of the $733 million he needs to address a projected budget deficit.
“Could Keno fall under this? Yes, it could, because it’s a type of online (product),” Cohen said.
Rhode Island-based GTech, the Greek company Intralot and Georgia-based Scientific Games Corp. all submitted bids for a Dec. 20 deadline, Cohen said. The state hopes to award the contract by April.
Ohio lobbyists for Intralot have donated about $30,000 to Strickland and the state party, while GTech representatives have donated about $28,000, according to state and federal campaign finance documents. Scientific Games lobbyist Richard Hillis gave Strickland’s campaign about $2,200.
Most of the contributions from gaming entities to Strickland, who took office a year ago, came during his 2006 run for governor.
However, two Ohio lobbyists for Intralot, Philip Craig and Jacob Evans, donated a combined $9,000 to Strickland in August and September of last year.
Dan McCarthy, president of The Success Group, which lobbies for GTech, and his wife have donated a combined $21,000 to Strickland since late 2005.
So, the former Republican Governor and his administration thought buying rare coins was a good investment for the State– from a fundraiser and lost millions, and now we have another “brilliant” idea to get Ohio out of a deficit- that is just as bad, all from the same evil root: candidates on campaign-fund crack.
That’s why David Esrati doesn’t accept money from PACs, special interest groups, corporations- just regular people like you, who want to have a government that acts logically and methodically to solve problems, instead of making new ones.
Ohio has voted over and over to say no to casinos (mostly because every proposal seems to only help the horse racing establishment) and with the current financial crisis looming, adding ways for people to gamble is no worse than a crack dealer getting people hooked. I’ve always called the lottery a tax on stupid people, and now, we’re looking at expanding it because we can’t cut the money out of our political system.
If I can prove that a candidate can get elected to Congress without spending millions, and selling out to special interest groups, it could begin a revolution in American politics- and we may actually get the government fo the people, for the people that we were promised so long ago.
Please note: Mike Turner and Jane Mitakides, my opposition in the race for Congress in OH-3, both take huge amounts of contributions from Special Interest Groups, PACs, corporate lobbyists.