Cronyism: Is private companies getting government – to craft policy that benefits the private companies.
That cronyism can be an exemption for the crony from policy that adversely affects the briber’s competitors. Or it can be policy that exclusively benefits the crony. And it can, of course, be both.
We have of late covered quite a bit a huge federal government cronyism – the Defense Department’s bidding process for a $10 billion cloud computing contract.
“…makes it much more likely you’ll get government contracts.”
The Barack Obama Administration’s Defense Department (DoD) hired a bunch of ex-Amazon employees – who were then placed in charge of the DoD’s cloud computing bid process. Shocker – the only company that met the contractor criterion crafted by Amazon’s ex-employees…was Amazon.
Thankfully, the Donald Trump Administration called…male cow manure – and re-opened the bidding process.
But you get the point.
Private companies bribing their way to government cronyism – is a nationwide problem. And must be identified and addressed – everywhere it arises.
Interstate state-level cronyism – is but one step away from national cronyism. Because companies in one state looking for cronyism in another state – are but one step away from taking their cronyism national.
Idaho is on the verge of delivering a particularly ridiculous helping of this interstate corruption.
“Proponents of Idaho’s Proposition 1 – which would legalize virtual betting on historical horse races using video terminals – claim it will revitalize the horse racing industry in the Gem State and support public schools. But opponents argue it mostly will authorize gambling machines that will pump profits into the hands of three private interests.
“And the only company that will immediately benefit from the new law is owned by a man, Paul W. Bryant Jr., whose father helped make Alabama football the powerhouse that it is today.
“Bryant, the son of legendary Alabama coach Paul W. ‘Bear’ Bryant, is the owner of Alabama-based Greene Group Inc. The group owns Greyhound Park and Event Center in Post Falls, which is the only venue that could immediately turn on the gambling machines if voters approve Prop 1.”
Get that? Greene Group Inc. – an Alabama company – is about to get an Idaho cronyism gambling monopoly:
“‘They could have written the ballot initiative any way they wanted, but they chose to include the Greyhound Park in Post Falls,’ said Natalie Podgorski, spokeswoman for Idaho United Against Prop 1. ‘Which calls into question, is this really about horse racing? If it is, why is a defunct dog track going to be allowed to have these machines?’”
“While the measure places no limits on the numbers of the ‘historical horse racing’ or ‘instant racing’ machines that would be allowed, it allows them to be located only in places that host at least eight days of live horse racing annually, or that fall under a specific section of Idaho law that applies only to the Greyhound Park in Post Falls.”
“No location in Idaho currently offers eight or more days of live horse racing, so if the initiative were law today, only the Greyhound Park could host the betting machines.”
Prop 1 is allegedly being proposed – to reinvigorate horse racing in Idaho. Except it is crafted to disqualify every single horse track in the state.
But the defunct dog track – which doesn’t have horse racing at all – is automatically qualified to host the gambling machines. Without any prerequisites whatsoever.
Greyhound Park doesn’t even have dog racing anymore. It was shut down in the mid-1990s after massive, rampant abuse of the animals – and just generally being a giant rip-off.
And guess who owns the defunct dog park – the only venue immediately allowed to host the virtual betting machines? Why…it’s Alabama’s Greene Group.
And how did Alabama’s Greene Group and their defunct dog track get this government cronyism? Behold Treasure Valley Racing – the sponsors of Prop 1:
“Treasure Valley Racing, is comprised of Idahoans Harry Bettis, Jim Grigsby, Robert Rebholtz, Larry Williams and Linda Yanke, in addition to a 50 percent ownership by the Alabama-based Greene Group.”
Get that? Treasure Valley Racing (TRV) – is half-owned by the Greene Group. TRV – and thereby the Greene Group – is pushing Prop 1. Which will create a betting-machine-monopoly for defunct dog park Greyhound Park – owned by the Greene Group.
So Idaho’s Prop 1 will do nothing for horse racing in Idaho.
Idaho’s Prop 1 will do a great deal for Alabama’s Greene Group.
Scads and scads of Idahoans coin will bleed out of the Gem State – and down south into the private bank accounts of the Greene Group in the Yellowhammer State.
All of which is a textbook example of how interstate cronyism works.
All of which is why we should oppose government cronyism – everywhere it arises.
This first appeared in Red State.