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Cong. Latourette R-Oh, linked to Ratners and Abramoff [View All]

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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 04:39 PM
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Cong. Latourette R-Oh, linked to Ratners and Abramoff
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There has been much discussion here of the gambling ballot issue (constitutional amendment). Today, Yellow Dog Sammy, the preeminent Ohio blogger, puts the story together at his site

There's a powerful stink of pay-to-play influence-peddling coming from Ohio's 14th Congressional District, despite the denial by Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Painesville) of any wrongdoing after his name came up in the Abramoff scandal. Records show that LaTourette has received large amounts of campaign cash from the Ratner family of Cleveland, of the Forest City real estate empire, who recently received a colossal development contract from a federal agency supervised by a LaTourette-chaired Congressional subcommittee.

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It is important to note that the Ratner family and Forest City are intensely interested in gambling. They and other Cleveland interests formed the Ohio Earn and Learn Committee, which is spending something like $15 million to promote a state constitutional amendment on the ballot in Ohio this November that would place slot machines at certain race tracks and in other locations in Cleveland, including a location controlled by Forest City. If the measure passes, the promoters estimate the slot machine revenues could exceed $2.5 billion per year, with 38% slated for education and economic development. Forest City also has an interest in a gambling/development opportunity in Pittsburgh. Gambling is thus a common thread connecting them to David Safavian, the former gaming lobbyist, and Abramoff and his Indian tribe clients, also pursuing gambling opportunities.

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Much more research is needed on the ties among the Ratner/Salzberg interests, LaTourette, the GSA, and the variety of people and firms who lobby for those interested in gambling/development opportunities. I am certain that the constellation of small contributions linked to these people and companies is much larger than what I have noted, and the precise interaction of LaTourette and his subcommittee and the GSA remains to be detailed. However, the whole situation is at the least extremely suspicious, just based on what has been uncovered to date.

There is much more to this and I am short on time to post. go to the website: /
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