US Congresscritters Beseech Attorney General for RAWA Relief

Updated: January 18th, 2018 by Dev Ops

It’s never-say-die time for the US Congress’s paid proponents of the Sheldon Adelson-funded “RAWA” (Restoration of America’s Wire Act) legislation that would, if somehow passed, would enact a near-blanket ban on most forms of online gambling across the United States. In recent weeks, two more letters begging for a review of the 2011 Attorney General opinion of Obama-era AG Eric Holder have been sent to the current deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein, asking for a reversal of that 2011 opinion.

Sheldon Adelson, corrupter of America, funder of RAWA

Of course, most people want these RAWA efforts to die, and the various efforts to undo Holder’s 2011 reinterpretation and limitation of the Wire Act have been put forth by hard core anti-gambling types, carefully orchestrated by billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Adelson, whose Las Vegas Sands Corporation owns the Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas, a smaller casino in Pennsylvania and some mega-casino properties in Macau, wants any possible challenge to his land-based casino operations barred by US federal law — even though research has shown online gambling to be a complimentary offering to land-based casinos, rather than a cannibalistic one.

Adelson’s paid lobbyists and purchased politicians continue to orchestrate their RAWA efforts on a carefully constructed foundation of lies, conflating decade-old FBI statements regarding the insecure nature of unregulated, offshore gambling with that of more recent regulated efforts in several states. Adelson and his foes would undo those regulatory advances, despite the fact that the Wire Act clarification authored by Holder in 2011 was necessary for individual US states to move forward with all sorts of things, from online sales of state-run lotteries to online poker.

In recent days, PPA Vice President Rich Muny published a letter sent to Deputy AG Rosenstein by four US Congressman: Dan Donovan of New York, Tom Garrett of Virginia, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Louie Gohmert of Texas. All four are Republicans, and the letter they co-signed begs Rosenstein to reexamine the online gambling issue.

The four wrote, in part:

… With the stroke of a pen, an unelected lawyer in an obscure office fundamentally changed our nation’s gambling policy – taking an activity previously confined to distinct, controlled, and monitored physical locations and permitting it to be offered 24/7 on mobile devices, laptops, tablets, and home computers.

Internet gambling carries with it significant law enforcement implications, as the pervasive nature and anonymity of the internet makes it ripe for exploitation by criminals. The FBI has warned Congress that “online casinos are vulnerable to a wide array of criminal schemes,” and that it “may provide more opportunities for criminals to launder illicit proceeds with increased anonymity.” …

Of course, Rosenstein himself is another unelected lawyer holding, temporarily, the exact same office, so he’s supposed to overlook the insult. And the stuff about the FBI, that’s what was written in the middle of last decade about some shady offshore operations, rather than the highly-regulated offerings that have arrived in a handful of US states.

The letter is highly similar to another one written in November by US Senators Lindsey Graham and Dianne Feinstein. Graham and Feinstein have both been the recipients of Adelson’s largesse, and both have also been paid to be part of Adelson’s and Las Vegas Sands’ odious Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) lobbying group. Graham in particular has been the beneficiary of major fundraising help from Adelson in exchange for RAWA assistance; a major fundraiser held a few years back at Adelson’s Palazzo casino in Las Vegas — rather than 2000 miles away, in Graham’s home state of South Carolina — pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars Graham’s way.

The letter itself, just like the one from December featuring Rep. Gohmert and the others, was almost certainly drafted by the same Las Vegas Sands lobbyists who have, on previous occasions, drafted the proposed RAWA legislation that would do Adelson’s bidding.

The good news is that Adelson’s RAWA efforts have long been exposed as the worst form of crony capitalism, despite the venal willingness of a handful of corrupt pols to take a pile of Adelson’s bucks. More and more states are lining up to consider various forms of online gambling. That makes federal-level RAWA legislation less likely than ever.

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