July 15, 2009
"We thought this was a gubernatorial administration," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for Say No To Casinos. "But it's turning into an episode of the Sopranos." Cothran's remarks came in response to reports that pro-gambling forces had succeeded in taking out a key anti-slots senator. "This is what happens when the gambling industry moves into your state: anti-expanded gambling legislators start disappearing, and the system becomes distorted by money and the political power it brings."
State Sen. Charlie Borders, chairman of the committee that voted down the slots bill in the special session, was appointed to a highly sought after post on the Public Service Commission by the Beshear administration. "This is an attempt at a hostile takeover of the State Senate by gambling interests," said Cothran.
"This was a message job to the rest of the Senate: 'You better change your votes or we're taking you out too, and it won't be nearly as pretty'," said Cothran. "There are only so many jobs the governor can use to lure anti-slots legislators away from the General Assembly. The ones who can't be bought will have to taken out some other way. The horse tracks have already threatened anyone who opposes them by telling them that if they don't change their minds, they'll soon be wearing the political equivalent of cement overshoes."
"Pretty soon, we're going to be seeing people walking the halls of state government wearing trench coats and carrying violin cases."
Cothran said that ever since the State Senate refused the demands of the horse tracks for protection money in the legislative special session, every anti-slots state senator has had a political contract put out on him. "This senator got out of it easy. Politically speaking, he was bought off. Other legislators who stood up to the tracks may not be so lucky, given that the race tracks have made it clear they are going to whack any legislator who voted against them."