The Portland Press Herald is reporting that VP (possible 2016 Presidential wannabe) Joe Biden will be part of a fundraiser for New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan. While the press will focus on this rite of potential presidential primary passage–fundraising for Marquee names in the Granite State’s political theater–we should consider more pressing points.
The home where the event is to take place is that of Jim Demers (Demers Group) a high-powered Democrat lobbyist who chaired Obama’s 2008 NH campaign. Demers enriches himself on the money of major corporations by lobbying for them in New Hampshire.
One of those “clients” is Cannery Casino Resorts, of which Millennium Gaming holds a majority interest (58%). Millennium Gaming has, for years, been dumping money into New Hampshire to secure a state mandated gambling monopoly, which Governor Hassan assumed would happen when she included $80 million in licensing and fees for Cannery and Millennium casino’s in her first state budget even though gambling wasn’t even legal in the state. Not yet at least.
It still isn’t legal, not for lack of trying. While casino bills were offered up this session, none survived the legislature; partly becasue New Hampshire has no laws, no rules, no mechanism, no infrastructure, no instructions on how to move forward, sideways, or in any way manage any such enterprise, even though gaming bills are a perennial curse on the legislative docket. The rules issue is being rectified with a special committee, just in case, you know, Demers manages to get Hassan her golden calf.
The best candidate for legalized gambling in New Hampshire circa 2013 came, from of all places, the Republican majority State Senate; but Democrats who hold a majority in the New Hampshire House buried it, partly because they were angry with Democrat Hassan for pledging to veto any broad based tax before the elections, partly because of a healthy distrust of gambling as a solution to fiscal anything. This is actually a bi-partisan issue on a political landscape with few others like it.
Hassan wanted revenue from gambling licenses but needed legalized gambling to add another $80 million in new spending. The same Senate that tried to give it to her inevitably hammered out a state budget–minus that missing money and all the tax increases Democrats wanted–with none of her priorities in it, so I’m sure spending those millions are still on her mind. Which leads us to the only real story about Biden raising money for Hassan.
Millennium Gaming owns 58% of Cannery. The Cannery Lobbyist is Jim Demers. Demers is holding a fundraiser for Hassan at his home in Maine and offering access to the Vice President of the United States. OK. To most Conservatives this is not much different than offering them access to well, Joe Biden, but to Democrats and the political class this is like being a step away from the progressive equivalent of Jesus. The Lobbyist will raise money for the New Hampshire Governor.
It’s all very cozy.
I’m sure all we’ll probably hear about in the local press is how Biden might be eying a 2016 bid for President.