Tuesday, September 05, 2023

First They Count the Money; Then They Gamble


Despite an uprising of sorts by Rockingham County citizens upset about the rezoning of 192 acres for a new commercial gambling parlor, the Rockingham Commission voted unanimously on August 21 to approve the rezoning. One of those voting was Kevin Berger, Senate boss Phil Berger's son. The Bergers stand to gain from the deal:

Bob Hall, former executive director of Democracy NC and a longtime campaign funding watchdog, recently released his analysis of political contributions related to gambling. 

A news release announcing Hall’s findings said that “during the first half of 2023, while state legislators debated legalizing various forms of gambling and marijuana use, they also collected $530,000 in campaign contributions from political donors tied to those activities.” And that’s just for six months. 

Prior to January, Hall reported, lawmakers received $885,000 from a network of video gambling backers, with some of the donations potentially illegally bundled. Gambling interests also have their lobbyists descending on the General Assembly with the fervor of casino executives wooing high rollers. Hall’s review found that “38 gambling-related businesses and associations – including 29 based outside North Carolina – are paying 71 different lobbyists to promote their agenda this year to 170 state legislators.” (Ned Barnett in the NandO)

They don't even try to hide the corruption. And we the voting citizens just accept the pay-to-play world as the new not new reality of politicians lining their pockets. Which makes us something less than a shining light on the hill.

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