Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law   712.224.5420

California | Compacts
Commentary: Tribal spending on compact referendum

"On Friday, the Pechanga Band of Temecula, one of the big four tribes who stand to gain from passage of Propositions 94 to 97 and 17,000 new slot machines, contributed $30.8 million in support of these propositions. This brings the total to the yes on 94-97 campaign to $68 million dollars, dwarfing not only the amount raised by opponents who seek to overturn the legislature’s approval of the slot machine compacts. But all contributions made on the other ballot measures being considered February 5, 2008—including term limits.

The last regular reports of campaign contributions on the California Secretary of State’s website are out of date. One has to look at the late and over $5,000 contributions to get an idea of where the money is coming from and going to—at least so far—on the often overlooked ballot propositions that voters will (hopefully) be grappling with in addition to choosing a Presidential candidate for the November election.

Billions of dollars—estimated to be as high as a net win of $60.2 billion for these four tribes are at stake.

This may be only the beginning of money spent, almost exclusively by the tribes on the yes side.

The second largest amount of money on ballot propositions in this cycle is on the “no” side of the Prop 94-97 gambling propositions, and most of it also comes from tribes—those who are not part of the arrangement with the four tribes. At least $11.5 million of the opposition funding comes from “Tribes for Fair Play” out of what appears to be $28 million raised in opposition. There is substantial money— millions each from race tracks and labor that make up the balance. A significant portion of the money raised by opponents was spent on qualifying the four referenda for the ballot."

Get the Story:
Frank D. Russo: Tribal Gaming Money Dwarfs All Other Contributions on California Ballot Propositions (California Progress Report 1/6)