Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) accepted $250,000 in campaign donations from Las Vegas Sands chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson in 2012. Walker received another $20,000 from Adelson and his wife in 2014. The Adelsons also donated $650,000 to the state’s GOP.
Adelson is a huge donor to the Republican party, so it’s not surprising that Walker would have received campaign donations from him. But when he was a state legislator, Walker actually tried to ban political contributions earned from gambling interests, ThinkProgress reported.
In 1997, Walker sponsored a bill that would prohibit “any person, including any committee or group, from accepting a political contribution made by any person who owns, operates or manages a casino or racetrack in any state, or who is licensed by any state to operate or manage a casino or racetrack.”
Walker promised in 1999 to reintroduce the failed bill, saying in a committee hearing, “We have witnessed problems with gambling contributions at the federal level and in other states. We must now act before problems evolve in this state. Our measure will act as a protection against corruption here in Wisconsin.”
Now that Walker is benefiting directly from the gambling industry, he’s changed his stance. ThinkProgress found that Walker, in addition to the money he received from the Adelsons, also received $9,000 from the Forest County Potawatomi Community — a Native American tribe with a casino in Milwaukee, $5,000 from Wild Rose Entertainment chairman Gerald M. Kirke and $3,000 from vice chairman Michael J. Richards, and $1,000 from Penn National Gaming chairman Peter M. Carlino.
Earlier this year, Walker rejected a Menominee tribe’s proposed casino, “a move that reportedly benefited the Potawatomi tribe,” according to ThinkProgress. Walker also recently traveled to Las Vegas and had dinner with Adelson, who is currently pushing for a ban on online gambling, which he feels could hurt his business.
Walker’s flip-flop on this issue shows just how disingenuous the governor, who is mulling a 2016 presidential run, actually is. He will change his positions to benefit whoever gives him the most money, which is pretty much commonplace behavior for the GOP.