Cherokee Political Contributions Unreported
Special Report - October 29, 2007
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, which operates North Carolina’s only gambling casino, made over $175,000 in political contributions over the past two years, $58,000 of which tribal leaders failed to disclose to the North Carolina State Board of Elections, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times. A majority of the undisclosed funds ($48,000) went to the North Carolina Democratic Party, while $5,000 went to the State Republican Party. Paxton Myers, chief of staff to the Cherokee’s Principle Chief Michell Hicks, told the Citizen-Times that the tribe was under the impression that donations to political parties did not need to be disclosed. In 2002, the State Board of Elections ruled that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians was not considered a “corporation” for the purposes of North Carolina’s campaign finance laws and was therefore free to donate money to the political campaigns of state candidates. (previous story)
The Cherokee Indians have long sought to modify their tribal-state compact to allow for broader gambling privileges at the Harrah’s Casino. Currently, the casino is limited to bingo, raffles, and video based games, but the tribe has pushed for Las Vegas style gambling, which involves live dealers who conduct such games as poker, craps, blackjack and roulette. (previous story)
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