One of the least reliably conservative Republicans in the Senate, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has joined forces with the liberal senior Senator from California, Dianne Feinstein, to ask the Department of Justice (DOJ) to limit the right of states to legalize online gambling. Among the most important principles of our Constitutional system of limited government is the ability of our 50 individual states to pursue their own public policy preferences in a variety of areas, free of federal government interference. Most conservatives and many Republicans strongly stand for this principles.
But Lindsey Graham, who voted to confirm radical leftist Barack Obama Supreme Court nominees Elena Kagen and Sonya Sotomayor, has also deserted constitutional conservative principles on many other issues.
Sen. Graham and Feinstein have written a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, on Nov. 21, asking for a reversal of the spot-on correct 2011 DOJ interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961 that clear stated that law does not prohibit individual states from legalizing state-regulated online gambling. Soon after that DOJ ruling, Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware legalized online gambling, and just recently, Pennsylvania joined them as well. Citizens who enjoy gambling now can play their favorite casino games online on their own personal computers, smart phones and tablets.
But guess who has a major problem with this, and will spend some of his billions to have Congress federally ban online gambling? The owners of brick-and-mortar casinos who see online casinos as competition, namely billionaire Sheldon Adelson, owner of casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Adelson has donated hundreds of millions to Republicans candidates, and affiliated Super PACs, contesting U.S. House and Senate elections. Several members of both houses of Congress, including Sen. Graham, have come forward to do Adelson’s bidding and have promoted a bill to overturn that 2011 ruling inaptly named the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) that would prohibit all 50 states from legalizing online gambling.
The Wire Act of 1961 intended to prohibit sports betting conducted by organized crime, and given the non-existence of the world wide web or the Internet at the time, it was never intended to federally ban states from legalizing online gambling.
The numerous efforts to advance RAWA and bills like it have all failed. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), also a supporter of RAWA, held a hearing before the House Oversight Committee two years ago to build support for the bill. By the end, it was clear he and supporters failed to make the case and strong bipartisan opposition instead stood for the right of states to determine their policy regarding online gambling free of big government interference from Washington D.C.
Every attempt to advance RAWA has failed, and with each failed attempt, increasing grassroots citizens support grows in favor of states rights. It is quite simple, the American people clearly want their state governments, and not the federal government, to decide whether online gambling will be allowed in their own state.
Instead of trying to violate states’ right on gambling, Sen. Graham should be doing the job the voters sent him to Washington to do, such as working to make sure the Senate passes bills like tax reform and repealing Obamacare. The voters elected him to serve in the public interest and not the interest of one Sheldon Adelson. By siding with the big government interests of the senior senator from California and the crony capitalist desires of billionaire casino owners, Sen. Graham has proven to be one of the very occupants of the swamp that President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress to elected to drain.
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