Saturday May 14,2016 : R.A.W.A. STEALTH ATTEMPT IN CONGRESSIONAL BILL CRITICISED (Update)
Center for Freedom and Prosperity condemns "crony capitalism" in politics.
The stealth tactic of Sen. Lindsey Graham, who inserted Restoration of the American Wire Act language into a must-pass US Senate Appropriations Bill last week is now out in the open, and was roundly condemned Friday in an op-ed article in the Washington DC publication The Hill.
Andrew F. Quinlan, president of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, wrote in the op-ed:
"If there's one sure takeaway from the 2016 presidential campaign season thus far, it's that the public is not happy with Washington elites. Yet it doesn't seem like Congress has gotten the message. Instead of focusing on issues that matter to voters, the backroom insertion of anti-gaming language into a recent Senate appropriations bill shows they are still working to benefit mega-donors at the expense of personal freedom."
Quinlan examines the background to RAWA, focusing on the efforts to kill off online gambling by Las Vegas Sands multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson and how he exerts his financial influence over politicians for allegedly commercial motives.
He points to the massive damage that acceptance of RAWA could inflict on the increasingly successful legalised online gambling businesses in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, and the consequences to the right of Americans to make their own choices in their own states.
And he vigorously defends the rights of individual states to make their own decisions on gambling as the constitution intended.
He refers to RAWA as a "grossly misnamed" piece of legalization underwritten by Adelson, claiming that it has bogged down through strong opposition from both Democrat and Republican lawmakers, observing:
"Many took issue with the bill's blatant attack on federalist principles and its origins as a crony handout. Rep. Mick Mulvaney even noted that the bill could open the door to further regulation of the internet."
New technology is challenging Adelson's business model, as often happens in a free economy, the article notes, adding that the billionaire should take whatever steps he thinks are appropriate to adapt his business to the times, but that this shouldn't include using the federal government to override state rules and limit the choices of consumers.
"RAWA supporters are clearly hoping that a new approach will pay dividends," Quinlan writes of Graham's Appropriations Bill tactic.
"The Senate language is a clear marker that they intend to continue pushing the false narrative that the Wire Act is being misconstrued by prosecutors, and that states should be prevented from legalizing games enjoyed by millions of Americans.
"House lawmakers should respect the rights of states to set their own rules and refuse to follow the Senate's lead. House Republicans, particularly Rep. John Culberson, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee, should reject this cronyism and defend core constitutional principles."