MGM Resort International sided with the Department of the Interior in a suit brought by the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes over the DOI’s failure to respond to their proposal for a new casino. MGM has competing interests in the Connecticut region and has doubled its lobbying spending in a campaign against the casino. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) and Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV)—both of whom represent districts where MGM is a major employer—met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke multiple times.
CREW requested any communications between Zinke and the individuals representing MGM that relate to the MGM campaign against the tribal casino proposal.
The requested records would shed light on whether and how deep-pocketed, well connected companies affected federal policymakers in their decision to ignore the tribes’ proposal. Taxpayers have a significant interest in learning the extent to which groups outside the Department of the Interior are influencing policies that affect the livelihood of historically disenfranchised Americans.