INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
The Indiana House has responded to a newspaper’s report on private jet
flights that Gov. Eric Holcomb got from a casino magnate by inserting a
provision into a sweeping gambling bill that would limit gambling officials’
access to Indiana’s governor.
The House voted
61-28 on Thursday to require the governor’s office to post 48 hours’ notice
before having meetings with certain gambling industry officials. The
provision also specifies that those meetings would have to be open to the
The amendment was
added to a bill Spectacle Entertainment has been pushing that could allow it
to move its two Gary casinos, The Indianapolis Star reported.
reported last month that Spectacle’s chairman and CEO, Rod Ratcliff, enjoyed
hours of exclusive access to Holcomb last year when he flew him to meetings
in Colorado and Arizona.
Both events were
hosted by the Republican Governors Association, which funded the vast
majority of Holcomb’s 2016 gubernatorial campaign, contributing $7.6
The two flights
Holcomb received were among $500,000 that Ratcliff and his companies
contributed last year to the Republican Governors Association, which
supports the election of GOP governors throughout the U.S.
Democratic Rep. B.
Patrick Bauer, of South Bend, proposed the amendment requiring that meetings
between the governor and gambling officials be public. He referenced the
Star’s story Thursday and said that no one will ever know what Ratcliff and
“How would we
know?” he asked. “It wasn’t a public meeting. It wasn’t announced.”
office declined to comment.
Star’s report on Holcomb’s flights, the governor’s campaign treasurer and
Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer defended the flights as
“perfectly legal and customary” in a two-page written response to the
Democrat Party is calling for investigations into Holcomb’s flights. Party
Chairman John Zody sent a letter Friday to the office of the Indiana
Inspector General seeking an investigation into whether Holcomb accepted a
gift in violation of state ethics rules.
Zody also delivered
a letter Friday to the Indiana Election Division requesting a determination
that Holcomb failed to disclose the flights on his campaign finance report.
“It’s tough for the
Governor to not look captured by special interests when he’s racking up
frequent flyer miles aboard their private jets for free,” Zody said in a
statement. “Taxpayers deserve a governor who works for them.”
has said the flights didn’t need to be disclosed on his state campaign
finance reports or as a gift on his financial disclosure form because they
were arranged by the Republican Governors Association.
The House will vote
Monday on the gambling bill that includes the public meeting measure. A
House-Senate committee likely will negotiate a final version before the
legislative session ends later this month.