Casino campaign hires firm behind European Union exit effort

Markets Associated Press

A campaign to persuade voters to approve a southern Maine casino has reported getting assistance from a firm that helped persuade British voters to withdraw from the European Union.

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Progress for Maine PAC has reported paying more than $80,000 to Washington, D.C.-based firm Goddard Gunster.

The leading organization that campaigned for the United Kingdom to exit the European Union hired the firm, calling it one of the world's leading referendum and issue management firms. Maine Public reports that one of the firm's partners, Dwayne Bickford, is the Maine Republican Party's former executive director.

Voters are set to consider a November ballot question that would ask them whether they would allow a developer to apply to build a York County casino. The only developer who would be allowed to build is Shawn Scott, who previously financed a successful campaign to bring a Bangor race track and casino, called a racino, and slots parlor.

Scott's sister Lisa Scott has been leading the casino campaign in Maine.

The Maine ethics commission and the Legislature's government oversight committee are investigating the campaign, while Republican Gov. Paul LePage has said "greed" is behind the push for a new casino. The ethics commission is investigating the source of the more than $4 million campaign to collect signatures, while the legislative panel, which began investigating on Wednesday, plans to gather information and hold a public hearing.

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Lisa Scott has said the casino proposal will provide hundreds of jobs.