In the apparently never-ending saga of expanded gambling in Kentucky, Lexington Herald-Leader columnist John Cheves spears Damon Thayer, one of the Commonwealth’s state senators, for his connections to racing and expected advocacy of gambling in this post.
The gist of the piece is that Cheves knows that Thayer has acted as a consultant or publicist for farms and racing organizations and that Thayer is expected to be the state senator to introduce a bill to the legislature that would allow the people of the Commonwealth to vote yes or no on an amendment to the constitution that would allow expanded gambling.
So Cheves, or someone else, believes there is something funny going on here.
Cheves wrote that Kentucky “requires lawmakers to identify clients if they employ lobbyists at the General Assembly, as several racetracks do, including Churchill Downs and Keeneland. Thayer’s 2011 financial disclosure form does not list any such clients. On Monday, he said nobody who pays him has lobbyists at the legislature.”
Apparently, Cheves doesn’t believe Thayer or perhaps was just in a bad mood because the columnist goes on to maul Thayer through the comments of hard-core anti-gambling activists.
Through the use of innuendo and the comments of others, Cheves is taking a very conveniently slanted position in his commentary. He is presuming that Thayer’s clients are racetracks because they would benefit from expanded gaming. BUT where was Thayer in 2010 and 2011 when the horse industry was lobbying hard to have expanded gaming?
Thayer was sitting tight with David “Blackjack” Williams, who refused to allow a bill on the issue get to the state senate floor.
So, instead of helping racing in Kentucky in 2010 and ’11, when Thayer was banking all this cash and deeply angering many in the horse community, he was actually working against their interests.
This article is so conveniently wrong-headed that I wonder who suggested the topic to Cheves, don’t you?