FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 19, 2018
Emily Fitzmaurice, Massachusetts Democratic Party, 617-939-0808
Outrageous Emails Show Gaming Commission Ducking Responsibility on Wynn
BOSTON – Today, Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Gus Bickford released the following statement in response to emails obtained by MassLive and written by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission board members and staff, which demonstrate a shocking lack of commitment and direction regarding allegations against Steve Wynn:
“These emails show that Steve Crosby and the Gaming Commission are more concerned about managing their press coverage than they are about launching an honest and thorough investigation.
“The growing scandal over the Commission’s botched review of Wynn’s suitability for a Massachusetts gaming license will not just go away. The Commission must investigate the $2 million donation that Steve Wynn funneled to Charlie Baker through the Republican Governor’s Association in 2014. It violates the law that established this Commission and threatens the integrity of the gaming industry in the Commonwealth.
“Both Wynn and Governor Baker have a long history of relying on dark money to try and get what they want. The Steve Wynn ‘stink bomb’1 is right up there with Charlie Baker’s ‘nothingburger.’”2
In December, the Wall Street Journal reported that in 2014, top RGA staff discussed “helping Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker using money committed by casino magnate Steve Wynn.” In October 2014, when Wynn Resorts was an applicant for a gaming license, the company gave $2 million to the Republican Governors Association (RGA), its largest-ever donation to the group. The same day, the RGA made a $1.1 million donation to support Baker. Eight days later, it gave $1.1 million more.
When asked by the Journal about Wynn Resorts’ $2 million donation, Phil Cox, who was executive director of the RGA at the time, said of Steve Wynn that he was “sure his interest in the casino was a factor” in the donation to the RGA.
The Massachusetts gaming law states that “No applicant for a gaming license…shall directly or indirectly, pay or contribute any money or thing of value to…any candidate for nomination or election to 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 history of concealing the source of political donations to his campaigns. In 2017, the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) found two different political groups aligned with Baker guilty of illegally and intentionally concealing the true source of donations meant to influence two ballot questions in the 2016 election.
*General Laws of Massachusetts, Part I, Title II, Chapter 23K, Section 46: “No applicant for a gaming 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 any 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.”