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story.lead_photo.caption FILE — Players circulate the gaming floor on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, during the grand opening of a Cherokee casino in Grove, Okla.

The Quapaw tribe in August gave $191,000 to the Driving Arkansas Forward committee promoting the proposed constitutional amendment that would authorize four casinos in Arkansas.

The donation boosted the tribe's total contributions to $1.4 million, the committee reported Monday.

In August, the Driving Arkansas Forward committee reported receiving all of its contributions from the Downstream Development Authority of the Quapaw Tribe in Quapaw, Okla. The donation increased the total amount that the committee has raised from all sources to $2.48 million through Aug. 31. The committee previously reported that the Cherokee Nation Businesses LLC in Catoosa, Okla., has contributed $1.05 million.

The committee reported spending $190,574.40 in August to increase its total expenses to $2.39 million, leaving a campaign balance of $61,512.29 on Aug. 31.

The Driving Arkansas Forward and Arkansas Jobs Coalition committees sponsored the casino proposal that Republican Secretary of State Mark Martin certified for the Nov. 6 general election ballot. The chairman of both committees is lobbyist Don Tilton, whose clients include the Quapaw tribe.

Nate Steel, counsel for the two committees, on Monday declined to comment on the latest reports, saying, "I think the reports speak for themselves."

Two committees that oppose the proposal, the Ensuring Arkansas' Future and Citizens for Local Choice committees, asked the state Supreme Court last week to strike it from the ballot. Neither has filed a campaign finance report yet with the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

The proposal, called Issue 4, would allow the state Racing Commission to issue casino licenses to: an applicant in Jefferson County within 2 miles of Pine Bluff; an applicant in Pope County within 2 miles of Russellville; a franchise holder in Crittenden County, which is now Southland Racing Corp., at or adjacent to Southland Gaming and Racing in West Memphis; and a franchise holder in Garland County, which is now Oaklawn Jockey Club, at or adjacent to Oaklawn Racing and Gaming in Hot Springs.

Under current state law, Oaklawn and Southland operate electronic games of skill, so the measure would allow for expansion of their gambling operations, including sports betting.

Under the proposed amendment, a licensee in Jefferson or Pope counties would be required pay an application fee, demonstrate experience in casino gambling and submit a letter of support from the county judge or a resolution from the county quorum court. If the proposed casino would be located in a city, the licensee would also need a letter of support from that city's mayor.

The Quapaw tribe has expressed interest in applying for a casino license in Jefferson County, while the Cherokee Nation has indicated its interest in a casino in Pope County.

In August, the Arkansas Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding Alliance committee reported raising no money and spending $2,370 last month. In total, the committee has raised $20,000 in contributions from Oaklawn Jockey Club Inc. and spent $14,784.14, leaving a balance of $5,215.86 on Aug. 31.

Oaklawn is taking no position on Issue 4, Oaklawn spokesman Jennifer Hoyt has said. Southland also hasn't taken a position yet on Issue 4.

The It's Our Turn committee that supports Issue 4 filed a statement of organization on Sept. 5 with the Ethics Commission with Robert McClarty of Little Rock as its chairman, Audrey Lockhart of Little Rock as co-chairman, and Carl Hunter and Janice L. Roberts, both of Little Rock, as committee members.

McClarty said the committee will file its first campaign finance report Oct. 15.

The Family Council Action Committee, which opposes Issue 4, reported raising and spending no money last month.

MINIMUM WAGE

The Arkansans for a Fair Wage committee that is promoting the proposed initiated act to increase the state's minimum wage reported receiving a $100,000 contribution in August from the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group 1630 Fund. The donation increased the group's total contributions to the committee to $450,000.

The proposal, known as Issue 5, would raise the state's minimum wage by $2.50 an hour to $11 an hour by 2021.

In August, the wage committee reported receiving a total of $100,000 in contributions to increase the total amount that it has raised to $605,300. Its expenses last month totaled $41,053.70 to increase its total expenses to $516,411.28, leaving a campaign balance of $88,888.72 on Aug. 31.

The Arkansans for a Strong Economy committee opposing the proposed initiated act, which is led by Arkansas Chamber of Commerce President Randy Zook, reported raising $16,200 in contributions and spending nothing last month.

The committee's contributions included $9,500 from AJ RE LLC of Forrest City, $2,500 from Pinnacle Hotel Group of Little Rock, $1,200 from Tobacco Superstore Inc. of Forrest City, and $1,000 apiece from VIPA LQ LLC of Hot Springs, Country Inn & Suites of Hot Springs and VIPA Hotels Inc.-Home 2 Suites of Hot Springs.

This committee has asked the Supreme Court to strike the ballot proposal from the general election ballot.

TERM LIMITS

The U.S. Term Limits committee that supports Issue 3 reported raising and spending nothing last month. In total, it has reported raising and spending $475,553.60, leaving a zero balance on Aug. 31.

U.S. Term Limits advocates for term limits at all levels of government, according to its website. U.S. Term Limits' board of directors includes Tim Jacob of Little Rock, who is a spokesman for the Arkansas Term Limits committee that is promoting Issue 3. That committee hasn't filed a report for August with the Arkansas Ethics Commission.

The Family Council Action Committee that supports the proposed constitutional amendment reported raising and spending nothing last month. It has raised a total of $770 and spent a total of $691.91, leaving a balance $78.09 on Aug. 31.

The Arkansans for Common Sense Term Limits committee, led by Zook, reported raising and spending nothing last month. The committee has asked the state Supreme Court to strike Issue 3 from the general election ballot.

Issue 3 would limit state senators to serving two four-year terms and representatives to serving three two-year terms and all lawmakers to serving a maximum of 10 years in the Legislature.

Metro on 09/18/2018

Print Headline: Tribe's funds to OK casinos put at $1.4M

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