The political fallout of Governor Christine Gregoire’s alleged sweetheart deal with the state’s Tribal gambling interests is still drifting downwind and the issue’s half-life might last well into November.
Critics point out the odd coincidence that $650,000 in campaign contributions have been donated to the Washington State Democratic Party after an apparent $140 million per year agreement was struck with casino operators.
Rather than addressing the controversy, Gregoire’s campaign has chosen instead to lash out at a snarky television commercial produced by the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW), calling her critics “racist”.
The race-mongering by Gregoire has given even her most ardent followers pause, drawing head-scratching from The Stranger and Crosscut along with coverage by most every news outlet in the state.
Naturally Gregoire’s quick use of the race card makes good grist for Republicans who are ready to go on the warpath using this newfound ammo.
The Rossi campaign issued a press release this afternoon getting the subject back on point – away from the race issue – asking why the state isn’t receiving revenue from tribal casinos.
“Dino Rossi is part Tlingit Alaskan Native and he has made clear that the issue isn’t about the tribes, who should be expected to negotiate the best deal possible,” said Jill Strait, Rossi spokesperson. “The unanswered question is why Christine Gregoire gave away $140 million a year in state revenue. She’s refused to answer specific questions put forth by state legislators and refused to allow a public investigation into this matter. If she has nothing to hide, then she should welcome an investigation to remove the ethical cloud over her head.”
So far, no response from the Governor.
Smoke Signals: The story was initially broken in June by Chris McGann, Seattle P-I political reporter and all-around badass who, if water cooler rumors are to be believed, dropped the original bomb on the governor after tiring of her high-handed treatment of the Olympia press corp.