The Governor of Indiana, Eric Holcomb (pictured), has reportedly been criticized after it emerged that his re-election campaign recently accepted another $10,000 donation from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.
According to a Sunday report from The Times of Northwest Indiana newspaper, Holcomb was elected as Governor of ‘The Hoosier State’ in November of 2016 after predecessor, Mike Pence, decided to abort his own re-election campaign in order to join the ticket of then-Presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
The newspaper reported that the October donation from the Michigan-based tribe came after Holcomb announced that he would be standing for a second four-year gubernatorial term in next autumn’s elections. This purportedly followed the gifting of similarly-sized contributions in November of 2016 and September of 2018 while the federally-recognized Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is moreover known to have bequeathed some $5,000 to the re-election campaign of Indiana Lieutenant Governor, Suzanne Crouch, last year.
The Times of Northwest Indiana reported that 51-year-old Holcomb has now become the largest single beneficiary of campaign contributions from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians while state records show that the tribe has also recently donated approximately $65,000 to a range of other political candidates in Indiana including senior legislators, Brian Bosma, Rod Bray and Tim Lanane.
Although Indiana statute forbids officers and owners of commercial casinos from donating to political candidates, federally-recognized tribes are reportedly exempt from this prohibition meaning that neither the Republican governor nor the Pokagon Band has broken any laws.
However, critics have reportedly pointed to the fact that the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians is currently lobbying legislators to ratify a gaming compact that would allow it to transform its Four Winds Casino Resort South Bend facility into the Midwestern state’s 14th fully-fledged casino complete with a sportsbook, gaming tables and up to 1,800 slots. This 175,000 sq ft venue located near the city of South Bend is furthermore purportedly due to soon add a 23-story hotel offering 317 rooms as well as a spa, a convention center and an outdoor rooftop swimming pool to make it a serious contender to more established rivals such as Boyd Gaming Corporation’s nearby Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa.
But, Kyle Hupfer from the Holcomb for Indiana re-election campaign reportedly told The Times of Northwest Indiana that the donations from the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians were made in accordance with state law and that any gaming compact will have to be ratified by the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly before being sent to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for final approval.
Hupfer told the newspaper…
“With each campaign donation we receive, we work to comply with all campaign finance requirements, which we’ve done with this contribution. This includes being transparent and reporting the contribution within seven days of its receipt.”