$25 million and counting for political lobbying in Connecticut
By Christine Stewart, CTNewsJunkie
Lobbyists spent $25 million this year trying to push their issues over the legislative finish line, according to reports filed with the Office of State Ethics.
While the spending and the lobbying is far from over in the absence of a state budget, one of the most expensive efforts this year centered around the state’s decision to expand gaming.
MMCT Venture LLC — the joint tribal business entity that won final legislative approval on the last night of the regular session to open a third casino in East Windsor — spent $574,659. The two tribes that make up that entity also spent money. The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority spent $76,800 and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe/Foxwoods Resort Casino spent $21,987.
MGM Resorts International Operations Inc., which tried mightily to derail the tribal casino, spent $1.68 million. The Schaghticoke Tribal Nation of Kent Connecticut Inc., which was also hoping to open the bidding for a third casino, spent $31,717.
In the end the tribes won the high-stakes battle, but Uri Clinton, senior vice president and legal counsel for MGM Resorts International, has promised to sue. That means the lobbying battle between the two sides is likely to continue in the months and possibly years ahead.