Lindsey Graham sneaks internet gambling ban into spending bill Lindsey Graham sneaks internet gambling ban into spending bill[/caption] Politicians on Capitol Hill tried to pass the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), that would federally ban internet-based gambling in all states, but they failed. So they instead pull an underhanded and sneaky moving by slipping it into the huge Appropriations Bill in the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. No doubt it was hoped that we wouldn’t find out about this move. RAWA was introduced and supported by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) as well as Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), on behalf of Las Vegas casino owner Sheldon Adelson, who sees online casinos competing against his brick-and-mortar casinos. While Graham’s campaign for president failed earlier this year, he did gain the support in the bid from Adelson. And to return the favor for the billionaire casino owner, Graham has inserted the RAWA language into the giant spending bill. The RAWA language was inserted into the huge spending bill in the Senate “at the request of Senator Graham,” the RAWA language was placed in the Appropriations Bill, according to Senate Appropriations Committee spokesperson Chris Gallegos. Here is the language that appeared in the bill, similar to the key provisions of RAWA:Internet Gambling — Since 1961, the Wire Act has prohibited nearly all forms of gambling over interstate wires, including the Internet. However, beginning in 2011, certain states began to permit Internet gambling. The Committee notes that the Wire Act did not change in 2011. The Committee also notes that the Supreme Court of the United States has stated that ‘criminal laws are for courts, not for the Government, to construe.’” Abramski v. U.S., 134 S. Ct. 2259, 2274 (2014) (internal citation omitted) Chaffetz convened a show hearing last December, titled “A Casino in Every Smartphone – Law Enforcement Implications,” to build support for RAWA. But by the end of the hearing, the opposite was clear. The case for RAWA was strongly defeated and the arguments against it proved to be quite strong. Chaffetz sought to convince us that if one states legalized internet-based gambling, that those states who can it could not prevent their citizens from partaking in gambling. But experts in computer and information technology, that testified at the hearing, clearly showed that online casinos are already employing technology to insure that those from states that ban online gambling cannot participate in gambling illegally via the internet. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) strongly argued the case that RAWA violates the rights of states to regulate and decide gambling policy. He also illustrated how a federal government that decides for all states on gambling issues could also restrict the sale of firearms and ammunition on the internet as well, violating Second Amendment rights of citizens. The idea to ban internet-based gambling has little support on Capitol Hill, as evidenced by the failure of RAWA to gain any traction in the legislative process. Additionally, it has strong opposition from grass-roots citizens groups, who represented citizens who support federalism and defending individual rights from a federal government that is increasingly encroaching on individual liberty. Even those who are personally opposed to gambling on moral grounds oppose the federal government dictating policy on the issue to all states. Congress currently enjoys approval of about ten percent of the public according to recent polls. No doubt shenanigans like this are a major reason the public shows such contempt for Congress, and the actions of Graham acting on behalf of Adelson to enact the internet gambling ban will do little to enhance the public’s approval of Congress. Against so much opposition and the failure of RAWA on Capitol Hill, Graham sought to sneak into the Appropriations Bill, which will next go to the House to be heard before the Appropriations Committee, whose chairman is Rep. John Culberson (R-TX). A strong supporter of Second Amendment rights and federalism who is also a member of the Republican Study Committee and the House Tea Party Caucus, Culberson can correct this by removing the internet gambling ban language from the bill. By removing it from the House version of the bill, it might well be left out of the final bill that passes both houses of Congress to go to the White House for presidential signature. Advocate of federalism can only hope this is exactly what happens.]]>