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California woos casino tribes

2 May 2008

CALIFORNIA -- As reported by the Press Enterprise: "More than 25 years after ending his last term as governor, Jerry Brown is delivering stump speeches and wooing California's newly moneyed tribes as he hints at another run for the state's top job.

"Many tribes have become major political donors since he was governor.

"They now run bustling casinos that are partly regulated by Brown himself. If he is to make the leap from attorney general -- the job he was elected to in 2006 -- to governor, his campaign likely will need the financial support of the very businesses he oversees, experts say.

"The attorney general's office's Bureau of Gambling Control is one of several entities that regulate Indian casinos. Whether Brown, as attorney general, can crack down on problems at Indian casinos and simultaneously solicit tribes' political support could become an issue on the campaign trail, as questions of potential conflicts of interest often do.

"...Records show that Brown hasn't collected any campaign contributions from tribes during his time as attorney general thus far.

"...Brown has not formally announced that he will run for governor in 2010. On Tuesday, he said he's 'certainly giving it a lot of thought.'

"...Republican Gov. Schwarzenegger's second term will end in 2010, and he cannot run again. The campaigns of candidates seeking to succeed him are expected to get under way in earnest next year.

"...Meanwhile, tribal employees and other critics have questioned whether his office is doing enough to address problems that plague some tribes flush with gambling profits: drugs, violence and criminal activity by tribal members inside casinos. Critics have said they see little evidence that the state is trying to rein in the criminals..."

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