Petition launched for expansion of Massachusetts Gaming Commission probe
13 Feb 2018
In 2014, Wynn funneled $2 million dollars through the Republican Governor's Association to Baker's campaign. Wynn Resorts was an active applicant for a gaming license at the time and therefore prohibited from making a direct or indirect donation to any candidate in Massachusetts.
"These campaign contributions are a clear violation of our casino gaming law, and it is undoubtedly the Gaming Commission's responsibility to investigate them," said Jim Roosevelt, legal counsel for the Massachusetts Democratic Party. "If we want the Massachusetts gaming industry to have any integrity, the Commission must leave no stone unturned in their investigation of Wynn Resorts. Their failure to do so is evidence of Governor Baker’s undue influence over what was meant to be an independent Commission."
The petition reads, "Steve Wynn and Governor Charlie Baker have repeatedly concealed financial information from the public and state authorities. The Wall Street Journal reports that Steve Wynn used the RGA to funnel campaign contributions to Baker's campaign, in direct violation of Massachusetts gaming law. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission must investigate Wynn's financial support of Baker and hold a public hearing as part of their investigation into Wynn Resorts."
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.