• Top GOP Donor Buys Himself A Congressional Hearing To Ban Internet Gambling

    Cronyism is alive and well in our nation’s capital.

    A House of Representatives subcommittee is holding a hearing this week on a bill drafted by casino lobbyists to outlaw certain types of gaming on the Internet. This is not being done to protect consumers from the allure of gaming online; it is being done to pay back one of the biggest donors to the Republican establishment – casino mogul Sheldon Adelson.

    Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) in the House and wannabe presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in the Senate have introduced “The Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA)”, a bill that would, if enacted, overturn a number of state laws allowing online gaming for residents within the borders.

    The House is conducing the first hearing on the issue. It has become clear that some members of the GOP are willing to crawl over glass to please a billionaire benefactor.

    Sources tell the Daily Surge that this hearing scheduled for Thursday in the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations is stacked with witnesses who are going to be favorable to Adelson’s legislation.

    The tentative witness list is subject to change, but we know that the three witnesses expected to be called are all well-known opponents of gambling. These witnesses have a track record of testifying against Internet gaming and are expected to cheerlead for Adelson’s interests.

    It is outrageous that Adelson, who made his billions in gambling casinos, is the one pushing to restrict gaming online. He is clearly trying to purchase the support of Congress to provide a competitive advantage for his gaming interests in Las Vegas.

    There are some strong arguments against this legislation, but they are going to be minimized. Tenth Amendment federalism advocates against the legislation are expected to be absent from the hearing.

    Adelson views legal online gaming as a threat to his empire and bragged that he would “spend whatever it takes” to overturn the decisions of states like New Jersey that have had online gaming for nearly two years. His push is crony capitalism. Having the government outlaw your competition is having the government pick winners and losers in the marketplace. No witness is going to call out Adelson for cronyism at the hearing.

    The bill violates Tenth Amendment principles. If New Jersey and other states want to legalize online gaming, the lottery or horse racing, that is their right. Gambling should be regulated by the states. This is another argument that you will not hear a witness argue.

    This bill flies in the face of Internet freedom. Politicians who treasure freedom and want to see the government get out of the business of regulating the Internet should be opposing this idea. The advocates of Internet freedom will not be called to testify at this hearing.

    This hearing is expected to be one sided. It is not intended to be an opportunity to hear both sides of the issue and make a decision. It is intended to be a propaganda hearing to promote Adelson’s line of argument for his legislation to ban types of gaming that competes with his business model.

    The House Government Oversight Committee would be well served to have some balance. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Michelle Minton, who has argued strenuously against the proposed gambling ban, would be a good witness to provide balance. Minton is an expert on the history of the issue. Her exclusion tells volumes about the real purpose of the hearing.

    Sources also tell the Daily Surge that Adelson is in town to raise money for Sen. Graham’s yet to be announced presidential bid, so this hearing coincides with Adelson’s schedule.

    It is possible that some transparency will open up this hearing to provide balance. Transparency is the only way to take away power from the billionaire insiders who seem to be controlling both parties these days.

    Cloakroom Confidential

    Cloakroom Confidential was a longtime Capitol Hill staffer and insider who has contacts in the House and Senate at the highest levels.

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