Saturday, May 26, 2012

Show Him the Money

Gary Larson notes that the candidate carrying the Democratic recall banner against Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin has a something of a history of standing with powerful interest groups and against the little guy. His piece at America Thinker is called Barrett and the Ho-Chunks:

As a congressman (1993-2003), Rep. Barrett behind the scenes also supported wealthy Wisconsin tribes -- by lobbying a government agency in 1995 against three impoverished Wisconsin tribes seeking a casino of their own in Hudson, Wisconsin, a border town next to Minnesota's populous Twin Cities' market.

Three dirt-poor tribes, bands of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, aligned with a dog track owner to remake his failing track into a casino under provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. They followed all the rules. Then wealthy tribes from Wisconsin and Minnesota, jealous of their shared monopoly with one-armed bandits, ganged up on them and lobbied hard and dirty to block that would-be rival casino at St. Croix Meadows Race Track, just 30 miles from downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. Theirs was a textbook case in successful lobbying to rub out competition.

Led by the powerful Shakopee (Minnesota) Sioux of Minnesota and the Turtle Lake Band of Ojibwe in western Wisconsin, a consortium of tribal governments, all with existing casinos of their own, hired an army of well-connected lobbyists to deny their poor Indian brethren a casino of their own in Hudson.

Newly affluent Indians got their way when Secretary Bruce Babbitt's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) shot down the poor Indians' petition for a Hudson casino. They did so by getting to Democrats in Congress, including liberal Congressmen Barrett and firebrand David Obey from Wisconsin, plus Rep. James Oberstar and the late and seemingly saintly Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, among others now retired or also deceased.

Protecting the nouveau riche tribes' de facto casino monopoly was all-important to these limo liberals, and who cares about those impoverished Indians, anyhow?

After shooting down the Hudson deal, donations from the rich, favored tribes in the decision to deny competition poured in to the Democrat National Committee (DNC), headed by Daniel Fowler, and to individual Democrats' campaigns. It was like manna from heaven.

In the past, it was the rich tribes. Now, it’s the teachers unions. Barrett has shown himself more than willing to protect special interests against the public interest.