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California Proposition Spending Soars

8 October 1998

The September 6 edition of the Los Angeles Times reports that campaign contributions on the hotly contested Proposition 5, the Indian gaming initiative, have reached nearly $60 million with the infusion of Nevada casino money to combat massive spending by American Indian tribes.

Finance disclosures filed October 5 with the secretary of state's office show that the proposition is closing in on California's all-time election spending record—$84 million—spent on several insurance reform measures on the 1988 ballot. Monday's figures show that Indian tribes have outspent their Nevada opponents by about a 2-1 margin—but with the opposition to Proposition 5 furiously trying to catch up through major donations from three large Las Vegas gambling interests. During the most recent reporting period—from July 1 through Sept. 30—opponents to Proposition 5 raised about $14.5 million, while tribes favoring the casino measure raised about $16.4 million. For the entire campaign, Indian tribes pushing for Proposition 5 have raised about $42.7 million and spent $36 million, through last Wednesday, leaving about $6.7 million in unspent reserves.

In contrast, opponents of Proposition 5 have raised a total of $15.5 million to date—most from Nevada-connected businesses—and have spent $17.1 million, putting them more than $1 million in the red at the end of the reporting. The largest contributors to the "No on 5" campaign during the most recent reporting period were the Hilton Hotels Corp., Circus Circus Enterprises and Mirage Resorts. Each contributed about $4.3 million to defeat the initiative, which would provide for the continuation of existing Indian casino operations in the State of California. The largest donors in support of Propostion 5 are the San Manuel (about $21 million), Morongo ($9.5 million), Viejas ($5.1 million), Pechanga ($3.4 million) and Agua Caliente (about $1 million) tribes.

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