Sunday December 7,2014 : WHY ADELSON NEEDS SEN. REID
And why Reid might be inclined to help the land casino magnate.
The Huffington Post examined the relationship between multi-billionaire land casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and the ascetic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid over the weekend, noting that Adelson is an ardent Republican supporter prepared to throw tens of millions of dollars into influencing politicians, whilst Reid is a veteran Nevada Democrat who has in the past been critical of Republican big-money influence in US politics.
The two have some common political interests, however; Adelson needs Reid to get his Restoration of the American Wire Act banning bill through – preferably in the "lame duck" closing days of the current Congress, whilst Reid will in the future face re-election against some heavy competition in Nevada and Adelson support would be helpful.
With conservative opposition to RAWA mounting due to concerns about its impact on states' rights, Adelson's strategists may be worried that a Republican dominated Senate next year could mean that getting RAWA through the current Congressional session in its last few weeks might be the best bet…and Reid could be the key to that possibility.
As a result of the recent mid-term elections, in January 2015 Reid will surrender the Senate majority leadership to a Republican, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell.
In the past few weeks the RAWA has suffered a setback, with the House Judiciary Committee declining to progress the measure, apparently due to mounting conservative pressure.
But a straight-forward bill submission and full debate on a measure is not the only way to drive unpopular legalization through Congress, as the industry learned to its cost with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which in 2006 was rammed through a late night session of Congress attached to a totally unrelated and must-pass national security bill.
Currently looming on the Congressional horizon is an omnibus spending bill that must pass to avoid a government shutdown. This bundles together many separate appropriations measures and must pass by December 11.
"Given the size and complexity of omnibus bills, they are typically crafted behind closed doors by congressional leaders, who often engage in horse-trading over pet projects until the very last minute. This kind of process is perfect for moving Adelson's online gaming ban," the Huffington Post observes…and that means Reid's help would be essential.
If RAWA isn’t passed into law before December 31, it will have to be reintroduced when the newly elected Congress convenes next January, a delay that would give powerful opponents the opportunity to mount further opposition.
The Post confirms recent reports that Adelson's army of lobbyists has been strenuously pushing for RAWA in the the offices of Washington politicians who could influence the omnibus spending bill, including Reid and Republican Speaker John Boehner, who have reportedly been in discussions on the issue
Reid has been publicly non-committal, saying only that he has had discussions on the RAWA and his options with the bill's Adelson-influenced political introducer Senator Lindsey Graham and others.
If Reid supports the insertion of RAWA into the omnibus spending bill it will boost Capitol Hill suspicions that Adelson and Reid have struck a mutually beneficial deal.
Those suspicions have already been aroused by positive comments about Adelson in a Reid television interview earlier this year, and by an Adelson lieutenant, who recently confirmed that the two men enjoyed a warm relationship that would enhance the chances of RAWA being approved.