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September 18, 2014

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All but 15 lawmakers got PokerStars cash, report says; money being returned

The PokerStars PAC report shows that 48 out of 63 lawmakers received cash last year, shortly before the company paid for two of them – Assemblymen William Horne and Kelvin Atkinson -- to go to London.

I have listed the contributions below from the PAC filing, although some lawmakers are now pulling out records as they say they do not have any recollection of getting the money.

The real issue: Why would anyone take money or favors from a company the feds had already alleged had been operating illegally here?

The algorithm for contributions was obvious at the top – leaders got a lot of cash – but stranger as it got toward the bottom, with differing amounts and no good reason to leave some of those 15 off the list. And why not Bill Raggio, who at the time was returning to be the biennial power he always was.

The PAC also, in violation of the law, did not file a final report and the secretary of state’s office today sent the company a letter. Wonder if there are more contributions to see?

The bigger issue for the PAC and its helpers, and less so for the candidates who had little way of knowing, is how did they allow a foreign company, prohibited by federal law from contributing to state campaigns, fund the PAC.

I asked Alfredo Alonso, who was the company’s representative and set up meetings with candidates to pass out checks, how that could be. His answer, via email:

“No. No one was told of the foreign source of the money.”

Really?

Alonso claimed he had no knowledge of the nearly $300,000 check deposited in the PAC from the Isle of Man. So who deposited it? "I don't know," he said.

The feds surely will investigate, ex-U.S. Attorney Greg Brower already has asked the AG and SOS to look into it.

Here’s a list of the 48 legislators who took the PokerStars money, with PAC cash added to individuals where appropriate:

Steven Horsford $37,500

John Oceguera $30,000

Pete Goicoechea $14,000

Debbie Smith $12,500

Marcus Conklin $12,500

Marilyn Kirkpatrick $7,500

William Horne $7,500

Kelvin Atkinson $5,000

Joe Hardy $5,000

Ben Kieckhefer $5,000

James Settelmeyer $5,000

Mike McGinness $5,000

David Bobzien $4,000

Tick Segerblom $3,000

April Mastroluca $3,000

Lynn Stewart $3,000

Barbara Cegavske $3,000

Mark Manendo $2,500

Mo Denis $2,500

Ruben Kihuen $2,500

Tom Grady $2,500

John Hambrick $2,000

Olivia Diaz $2,000

Peggy Pierce $2,000

Marilyn Dondero Loop $2,000

Jason Frierson $2,000

Maggie Carlton $2,000

Richard Carillo $2,000

Steven Brooks $2,000

Lucy Flores $2,000

Irene Bustamante-Adams $2,000

Skip Daly $2,000

Cresent Hardy $2,000

Melissa Woodbury $2,000

Pat Hickey $2,000

Joe Hogan $1,500

Teresa Benitez-Thompson $1,500

Randy Kirner (listed as “Kimer”) $1,500

John Ellison $1,500

Richard McArthur $1,000

Harvey Munford $1,000

Dina Neal $1,000

James Ohrenschall $1,000

Elliot Anderson $1,000

Paul Aizley $1,000

Pete Livermore $1,000

Don Gustavson $1,000

Ed Goedhart $500

Who was not worthy of PokerStars money, according to the report:

Scott Hammond

Ira Hansen

Kelly Kite

Mark Sherwood

Shirley Breeden

Bill Raggio (Greg Brower)

Allison Copening

Elizabeth Halseth

John Lee

Sheila Leslie

David Parks

Dean Rhoads

Michael Roberson

Mike Schneider

Valerie Wiener

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