The Republican –controlled House Committee on Natural Resources will hold a hearing next week on a measure described as “Elizabeth Warren’s tribal casino bill.” The bill will also bail out the Malaysian financiers that fronted the-nearly $400 million (so far) for the casino in question. Oh, and PS – that Malaysian company is tied up in a major scandal rocking the Malaysian government.
What are we doing here, House Republicans?
I’ve written about this issue before, under the title, “Republicans Should Not Aid Warren’s Fauxcahontas Inoculation Campaign.” But that appears to be exactly what they are doing.
The bill itself has been called “a Hail Mary on top of a Hail Mary” by Taunton, MA locals who oppose the casino. That’s because without the bill – which circumvents the Department of the Interior, the proper authority on these matters – the casino wouldn’t stand a chance on its own merits.
The tribe in question, the Mashpee Wampanoag, has pushed for a casino as far back as the Jack Abramoff scandal. But as Brent Scher reported in the Washington Free Beacon, the real power behind the casino and its lobbying effort is “the Genting Group, a Kuala Lumpur-based company with a global portfolio of casino businesses that has $249.5 million invested in the troubled project.”
Genting disclosed in its 2015 annual report its $249.5 million investment in promissory notes from the Mashbee Wampanoag Tribal Gaming Authority. It gained no equity from the investment, which was intended to “establish” its “growing presence in the U.S.”
There will be no return on investment until the casino is in operation and Genting is paid for management, an increasingly unlikely outcome that would result in Genting losing $274 million. In the case that no casino is ever built, the tribe says it won’t even have to pay back the investments made by Genting.
House Republicans should heed my earlier advice and stay far away from this mess.