Tag Archives: Prop. 94-97

Updated: Feds’ Screw-up On Compacts Could Override Prop 94-97 Vote Due to Arnold’s Interference

You have got to be kidding me.  It appears there is an argument that no matter what happens with the vote on Prop 94-97, the Native American gambling compacts that the federal government’s approval, which only happened on a technicality could be the determining factor if they are approved.  Arnold was right in the middle of this and is now claiming that he had no clue that it could result in this confusion.  Yeah, right.

Here is the timeline as laid out in the SacBee this morning.

Early September: Secretary of State Debra Bowen sends the four compacts, which had been passed by the legislature and signed by the governor to the Interior Department for approval.

The Interior Department had 45 day to act on the compacts.  They “mysteriously disappeared soon after arriving and did not resurface for 80 days.

December 3rd, they announce they will delay publishing the notice of approval to avoid confusion over their legal status.

December 6th Arnold makes a call to the Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne, asking him to give “some attention” to the compacts and brings up the timing of the publication of approval.

December 19th, Department officials reverse their original decision to delay their announcement and approve them, since the 45 days for action had already taken place and they could not do anything else.

On Dec. 3, an official for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is part of the Interior Department, said the bureau would delay publishing a notice of the compacts’ approval in the Federal Register to avoid more confusion about their legal status. But the official was overruled by superiors, and the approval was published Dec. 19.

Schwarzenegger told the editorial board that he did not specifically ask Kempthorne to publish the agreements, but asked him to make sure that “everything go through procedures.”

But Schwarzenegger’s communications director Matt David said later that the governor did bring up the publication issue with Kempthorne in a Dec. 6 call on another subject.

The governor swears that he was not trying to monkey around with the timing to give the tribes and advantage after the election.  Meanwhile he is playing dumb to the SacBee editorial board.

The action has led to widespread speculation that one or more of the tribes might claim the deals to expand their casinos are valid, even if voters reject the compacts next month.

Schwarzenegger, who wants voters to authorize 17,000 more slot machines at four Southern California casinos, told The Bee editorial board that he’s unclear whether the federal action would override voters should they reject the agreements.

“I thought if the voters did not approve it, it’s gone,” he said. “But maybe you’re asking me that … because there is a way out of it? That will be quite interesting. I don’t know.”

Oh yes, very interesting indeed.

If the voters reject the gambling expansion (which Calitics has endorsed), then we may well see a court case brought by the tribes arguing that since the federal government approved the compacts that what the voters said doesn’t matter.  That would mean that the fed’s “lost” paperwork overrides the will of the people of California.  And it appears that Arnold is right in the middle of it all.

Update 1:15 pm by Julia It looks like today’s story is already making waves.  The Department of the Interior is promising not to losing things again. CapAlert (reg req)

Embarrassed by the “misplacing” of four California Indian casino compacts that resulted in the deals being approved without being reviewed, federal Interior Department officials said today they are taking steps to see “we don’t ever have a repeat of this.”

And they are investigating themselves, yeah that will work well.

Department spokeswoman Tina Kreisher said Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has asked the department’s inspector general’s office to review the BIA’s conclusion that “these documents were inadvertently and not deliberately misplaced, and that sufficient corrective measures are being taken.”

The only question is when they will exonerate themselves.  I bet it is a few months down the road when nobody is paying any attention.