Online gambling opponents have hired former Republican Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (pictured) to help lobby their cause in Washington.
This week, The Hill reported that the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling (CSIG) had hired the lobbying firm of Squire Patton Boggs to help promote the Restoration Of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), legislation that would ban most forms of online gambling in the United States.
Lott, who was in the Senate when the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in 2006, resigned his seat the following year to team up with former Louisiana Senator John Breaux on a lobbying group that was later acquired by the law firm that eventually became Squire Patton Boggs.
In the mid-1960s, Lott attended the University of Mississippi, where he successfully beat back attempts to racially integrate the Sigma Nu fraternity. Lott also served as a cheerleader for Ole Miss athletic teams, learning skills that likely serve him well in his present career. Just a hunch, but Lott’s willingness to lead cheers for RAWA could be because he’s under the impression it stands for ‘Race: All White, A’ight.’
CSIG also recently hired J.C. Watts Companies, a lobbying firm fronted by J.C. Watts Jr., a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma. CSIG’s other mouthpieces for hire include David Schnittger, the former deputy chief of staff to current GOP House Speaker John Boehner.
CSIG is bankrolled by Las Vegas Sands boss Sheldon Adelson, a Republican kingmaker who has presidential hopefuls falling over themselves to demonstrate their similar hatred for online gambling. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have introduced versions of RAWA in their respective legislative chambers.
CSIG’s obvious eagerness to keep doling out Adelson’s money runs counter to the prevailing wisdom that RAWA doesn’t stand a hope in hell of passing. A new theory holds that CSIG will continue to press RAWA but ultimately ‘settle’ for a more politically palatable moratorium on further expansion of online gambling at the state level.
Meanwhile, support for RAWA has put Graham and fellow GOP presidential wannabe Marco Rubio (R-FL) in the crosshairs of a libertarian group. The Campaign for Liberty believes RAWA is an unwarranted attack on the hallowed principle of states’ rights and has publicly lambasted Rubio, Graham and other RAWA backers who “would trade state sovereignty and Internet Freedom for possible campaign contributions.”