Friday March 13,2015 : ONLINE GAMBLING AND THE NEXT U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL
Senators Heller and Graham appear to be using this confirmation hearing as a means to further RAWA.
The unedifying experience of watching Sen. Lindsey Graham badgering and trying to put words in the mouth of US Attorney General aspirant Loretta Lynch on her attitude toward the interpretation of the Wire Act recently spawned an unfortunate corollary this week when Nevada Sen. Dean Heller weighed in on the confirmation process.
Graham's attempt to use the confirmation hearing as a soapbox for the Adelson-inspired Restoration of the American Wire Act has been followed by Republican senator Heller confiding in the Washington DC newspaper Politico that he was "leaning" away from Lynch's appointment because he is “not very comfortable” with her response to questions on internet gambling (read RAWA and Wire Act).
Heller – a stock broker before becoming a politician – made the surprising claim that Lynch appeared to have “very little knowledge of what occurred in the Wire Act," and said "…you can’t be prosecuting illegal gambling and say you have very little knowledge of the Wire Act itself.”
His remarks were not only inaccurate, but are contradicted by wide reports on Lynch's very professional and remarkably restrained statements on the subject which clearly show that she is both experienced and objective, and thus well qualified for the top US enforcement post.
Heller's ambivalence on the topic and his apparent support for RAWA (an online banning proposal) is surprising, given that he was a leading figure in an abortive 2013-2014 drive to introduce the federal legalization of online poker in concert with fellow Nevada senator Harry Reid and the now departed and unlamented former Senator Jon Kyl.
The most trenchant comment on the development probably came from writer Steve Ruddock this week, who observed wryly that developments around RAWA looked increasingly like a kabuki theatre production!
Ruddock wrote: "The kabuki theater known as RAWA has taken yet another turn towards the absurd on Thursday. Nevada Senator Dena (sic) Heller told Politico he may not vote to confirm Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch because he was unsatisfied with her answers regarding the 1961 Wire Act, or more precisely, her unwillingness to overturn the 2011 Office of Legal Counsel opinion limiting the scope of the Wire Act to sports betting."