Chief Taking Cash
See John Fund's Political Diary from Monday for how Cruz Bustamante has become a wholly-owned political subsidiary of the California state Indian casinos:
A growing number of complaints about Indian casinos prompted Gov. Davis to hold each tribe to a maximum of 2,000 slot machines. He also slowed down the applications of 35 tribes who want new gambling licenses. By backing Mr. Bustamante, the San Jose Mercury News reports, "Indian tribes have anted up for a man who has pledged to loosen the reins that Governor Gray Davis has held since he signed gambling compacts with 61 tribes." Contributions to Mr. Bustamante are "a cheap bet" for the tribes, observes Nelson Rose, a Whittier College law professor who tracks gambling issues. "In return they get a monopoly on a casino industry that this year alone is going to make $4 billion or $5 billion." Indian gambling interests already represent the biggest political contributor in California, having plowed $122 million into state political races in the past five years. If their clout leads to a further expansion of their profits under a Bustamante governorship, they could become a force that no one in California would want to--or could--challenge.