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Atlantic City Casinos to Avoid Political Campaigns

9 September 2003

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey – As reported by the New Jersey Star-Ledger: "It was a curious letter that arrived just before Labor Day at each of Atlantic City's 12 casinos.

"The three-page missive from the chairwoman of the Casino Control Commission pointedly reminded casino executives that they and their employees are forbidden from getting involved in state or local political campaigns.

"Casino officials are well aware of that ban. But between the lines of the letter from the state regulatory agency, they read a warning from Gov. James E. McGreevey's administration: Stay out of the battle between the Democratic governor and Republican state Sen. William Gormley.

"…And behind the political strategy is a simmering feud between McGreevey and Gormley.

"…The letter from Linda Kassekert, chairwoman of the commission, reminded casinos that state law prohibits them and their employees from donating to state, county or local candidates. It noted that violators face fines of up to $250,000.

"Daniel Heneghan, a commission spokesman, said Kassekert felt a reminder was in order because no notice has gone out since the regulations were revised in March 1998. One reason for those revisions was to make clear that casinos cannot urge other companies with which they do business to make contributions to favored candidates.

"Gormley received nearly 10 percent of his 1997 campaign dollars from casino vendors, according to an analysis by The Press of Atlantic City at the time. His primary opponent got 40 percent of his funds from vendors. Casinos, which can give to federal candidates, also poured money into his unsuccessful 2000 campaign for U.S. Senate…"

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