The Courier-Journal report did not indicate whether casino companies that own riverboats in Indiana had made similar political contributions.
Churchill Downs stepped up its political contributions to Kentucky legislators in recent months, sending checks totaling nearly $50,000 to lawmakers in the three months leading up to the 2002 General Assembly, according to a published report in the Louisville Courier-Journal.Several legislators told the newspaper they thought the timing of the contributions was inappropriate, since it came just before the legislative body was to meet and probably consider a bill that would permit Kentucky's racetracks to install slot machines. In the week prior to the General Assembly opening, the report said, legislators received checks for $15,500. A number of lawmakers said they had or were going to return the checks to Churchill.Forty-five of Kentucky's 138 legislators had received contributions ranging from $500 to $1,000 since September 2001, the report said. In 2000, the track's political action committee contributed $19,700 and just $6,547 in 1999, the newspaper said.