The title was changed there (I originally called it “The Question 7 money question”) but this is my latest for Watchdog Wire.
Today we shine our light in the crevice of campaign finance and ponder the question: which side of the gambling fence was the Maryland Republican Party really on?
For those who have already forgotten the sordid history of last year’s Question 7, the ballot question and hundreds of commercial spots cluttering the media and airwaves beseeching a vote one way or the other on the issue, it came about when the General Assembly passed legislation in a Special Session last summer that placed the question of expanding gambling to include table games and a new facility at National Harbor in Prince George’s County on the ballot.
Before the question was decided with a slim majority favoring passage, both sides poured millions of dollars into the cause. On the pro-gambling side were factions supporting education, organized labor, and MGM Resorts International, which would develop the National Harbor project. Opponents mainly came from groups with a moral aversion to gambling, but corporate interests played a role as well: both the Cordish Companies (which owns the Maryland Live! casino at Arundel Mills in Hanover) and Penn National Gaming (owner of the struggling Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Maryland as well as another Hollywood Casino in nearby Charles Town, West Virginia) actively supported the “Get the Facts – Vote No On 7” initiative. They pointed out weaknesses in the proponents’ argument that money would be used for education, noting the ease of diverting gambling proceeds to the state’s general fund.
(continued at the Watchdog Wire…)