There is evidence that Steve Wynn used the Republican Governors Association (RGA) to channel contributions to the Baker campaign, in direct violation of the Massachusetts gambling law.
By Luis Bravo
The Massachusetts Democratic Party has announced a request for the Game Commissioners to disallow Bedrosian and immediately include illegal donations from Wynn to Governor Baker.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission chairman Ed Bedrosian declined to investigate allegations that Steve Wynn violated Section 46 of the Massachusetts Gaming Statute in an ongoing investigation. In 2014, Wynn channeled $ 2 million through the Republican Governors Association to the Baker campaign.
Wynn Resorts was requesting a gambling license at that time and, therefore, was prohibited from making a direct or indirect donation to any candidate in Massachusetts. “These campaign contributions are a clear violation of our casino gambling law, and it is undoubtedly the responsibility of the Gaming Commission to investigate them,” said Jim Roosevelt, legal counsel for the Massachusetts Democratic Party. “If we want the Massachusetts gaming industry to have integrity, the Commission should not leave a stone on stone in its investigation of Wynn Resorts. The fact that they have not done so is evidence of the undue influence of Governor Baker over what was supposed to be an independent Commission.”
THE PETITION SAYS:
“Steve Wynn and Governor Charlie Baker have repeatedly withheld financial information from the public and the state authorities. The Wall Street Journal reports that Steve Wynn used the RGA to channel his contributions to the Baker campaign, in direct violation of the Massachusetts gambling law. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission must investigate Wynn’s financial support of Baker, and hold a public hearing as part of its investigation at Wynn Resorts.”
In December, the Wall Street Journal reported that in 2014, the top RGA staff discussed “helping the Massachusetts governor candidate, Charlie Baker, using the money pledged by casino magnate Steve Wynn.”
In October 2014, when Wynn Resorts applied for a gaming license, he donated $ 2 million to the Republican Governors Association (RGA), the largest donation he has ever made to the group. On the same day, the RGA made a $ 1.1 million donation to support Baker. Eight days later, gave $ 1.1 million more. When the Journal asked about the $ 2 million donation from Wynn Resorts, Phil Cox, who was the executive director of RGA at the time, said of Steve Wynn that he was “sure that his interest in the casino was a factor” in the donation to the RGA.
The Massachusetts Gambling Law states that “No applicant for a gambling license … shall, directly or indirectly, pay or contribute money or thing of value to … any candidate for the nomination or election of any public office in the Commonwealth, including a municipal office; or any group, political party, committee or association organized in support of any such candidate or political party.”*
Governor Baker and his political team also have a track record for hiding the source of political donations to their campaigns. In 2017, the State Political Campaign and Funding Office (OCPF) found two different political groups aligned with Baker guilty of illegally and intentionally concealing the true source of donations intended to influence two questions on the ballot in the 2016 elections.
* The Massachusetts General Laws, Part I, Title II, Chapter 23K, Section 46: “No applicant for a gambling license, nor any holding, intermediary or subsidiary company thereof, nor any officer, director, key gaming employee or principal employee of an applicant for a gaming license or of any holding, intermediary or subsidiary company thereof nor any person or agent on behalf of such applicant, company or person, shall directly or indirectly, pay or contribute any money or thing of value to: (i) an individual who holds a municipal, county or state office; (ii) any candidate for nomination or election to any public office in the commonwealth, including a municipal office; or (iii) any group, political party, committee or association organized in support of any such candidate or political party.”