Still no disclosure on backers of casino amendment campaign | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Still no disclosure on backers of casino amendment campaign

Posted By on Sun, Jun 24, 2012 at 6:58 AM

CANVASSING: A photo from casino promoter Nancy Wilsons website shows her at work.
  • CANVASSING: A photo from casino promoter Nancy Todd's website shows her at work.

I sent a note Friday to Nancy Todd, who's fronting the petition campaign to put a casino amendment on the November ballot. The amendment would authorize four unregulated casinos, operating under the name Nancy Todd Poker Palace, in Pulaski, Miller, Crittenden and Franklin counties.

As you can see from her website, she's busy. You can find her canvassing operation anywhere a crowd is gathered, such as War Memorial Park today for the balloon races.

Todd filed an organizational statement in May, but has otherwise made no disclosures, though paid canvassers have been at work for weeks.

So the question: Who's paying for this operation? In response to my inquiry, I got this note back from Todd:


Hi Max, I got your message and I'm not ignoring you. The attorney and the CPA firm, as well as the ethics director for the state, have talked about the distinction between the "campaign" and the "signature gathering" phases of the campaign. I will track it down officially for you Monday morning. Thanks. Nancy

A cursory reading of the rules on ballot question committees suggests more disclosure is overdue. The relevant section pertaining to ballot questions says the terms is defined as an "initiative or referendum which is submitted or intended to be submitted to a popular vote at an election, whether or not it qualifies for the ballot." Committees are subject to disclosure rules from the moment bills are received if they make expenditures "for the purpose of expressly advocating the qualification, disqualification, passage, or defeat of any ballot question." Disclosure is required as soon as $500 is spent, even just for "qualification" of a measure.

Others see the rules as I do. A group formed to oppose this petition drive, backed financially by the Southland casino in West Memphis, has filed financial disclosure. So have groups on both sides of the gas severance tax. So have two committees working to qualify an ethics petition for the ballot.

CORRECTION: Who is Nancy Wilson? I got the casino amendment sponsors' name wrong in the original post.

PASS/DONT PASS: A Southland-backed group opposing the casino amendment stopped to chat with the pro-casino canvassers yesterday in this photo from Nancy Todds website.
  • PASS/DON'T PASS: A Southland-backed group opposing the casino amendment stopped to chat with the pro-casino canvassers yesterday in this photo from Nancy Todd's website.

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