The Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) anti-online gambling legislation introduced this month by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) will get a hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5.
News of the hearing was broken by Michelle Minton, a member of the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, which was one of a dozen prominent conservative organizations that voiced opposition to RAWA last November. Citing anonymous sources, Minton said the Sheldon Adelson-backed RAWA had a date with the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.
Chaffetz is one of nine Republicans on the 17-member Subcommittee and the Republican party’s belief that online gambling is the nexus of all evil is well documented. Another member of the Subcommittee, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), once claimed there was “a correlation between drug dealers and gambling sites.”
At last month’s confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is reportedly close to introducing a Senate version of RAWA, spent most of his allotted time quizzing Lynch over whether she believed Islamic extremists were utilizing online gambling as a means of funding their terrorist activities.
Speaking of Graham, Adelson has signed on as co-chair of a March 3 luncheon benefitting Graham’s Security Through Strength presidential exploratory committee. A Graham aide told McClatchy News that the involvement of Adelson, a significant GOP campaign financier, need not be construed as an endorsement of Graham’s presidential ambitions.
Meanwhile, presidential ambitions may have prompted another pol to step down as co-chair of Adelson’s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG). Former New York governor George Pataki’s name no longer appears on the CSIG website, which may reflect Pataki’s desire to rid himself of divisive associations before throwing his hat into the 2016 presidential derby. Pataki’s CSIG tenure was marked by embarrassing media appearances, including a CNBC interview in which he insisted (without evidence) that “transnational” criminal gangs were getting fat off online gambling.