Editorial: Dann should be careful who he takes money from

John O'Brien Aug. 6, 2007, 4:22pm


COLUMBUS, Ohio - Campaign contributions given from gambling interests to Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann didn't stop with the Castle King fundraiser.

An editorial in Sunday's Columbus Dispatch says that the first-term Democrat has received more than $47,000 from gambling interests since he took office in January, during which time he has actively attempted to regulate the state's gaming industry. Dann geared much of his campaign around cleansing the state's government from corruption.

"Considering how much fire and brimstone Dann called down on pay-to-play politics before his election as attorney general, Ohioans might be surprised at how quickly he dealt himself into the game," the editorial says.

While in settlement negotiations with Dann, Castle King apparently donated $7,750 in January to Dann, which is reflected in his campaign finance reports, The Associated Press revealed Thursday.

His office had appealed a decision that found the company's machines were skill-based (allowed in Ohio) and not chance-based (not allowed). Eventually, a settlement was reached, wherein Dann agreed that company supplied skill-based machines.

Later, the settlement fell apart as Dann accused the company of hiding information. In June, he called for more restrictions on the gaming industry.

"Literally millions of dollars are flowing through these machines unchecked and untaxed," Dann said. "I believe the time has come to impose strict regulations on this activity and I look forward to working with the Governor (Ted Strickland) and legislative leaders to craft a measure that satisfies the will of the people."

The AP report says Castle King executive Alfred DeLeon's brother Michael also donated almost $1,000 for food and drinks at the fundraiser.

Dann's side says it is an indication that the first-term Democrat's interests can't be bought, while state Republicans called him a hypocrite, the report says.

"This is from a guy who campaigned last year to root out corruption in state government and to eliminate the so-called corruption tax," said Kevin DeWine, deputy chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, in the report.

Dann has been in the news plenty during his first year in office, including a confrontation with a reporter that was caught on film. Dann is seen cursing the reporter.

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