The presidential campaign of Sen. Lindsey Graham failed to catch fire at least one major GOP donor was willing to help raise money for his quixotic run for the White House. Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson stepped to the plate to raise money.
The Washington Post reported on March 3, 2015 that Adelson was raising money for the South Carolina Senator with a blaring heading: “Washington’s first official 2016 fundraiser,starring Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Adelson.”
It was less than three weeks later that Politico reported that Graham has introduced Adelson’s prime legislative goal — a ban on state regulated Internet gaming. Politico described the move at “Graham does Adelson a solid” and said that “Sen. Lindsey Graham is giving a little help to his friend — Republican mega donor Sheldon Adelson. Graham is expected to introduce a bill to ban Internet gambling as soon as next week, according to sources working on the issue.
In the House, the Adelson bill was introduced and pushed aggressively by House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz. Despite not having jurisdiction over the legislation, Chaffetz held two hearings on the bill in a move to pressure the House Judiciary Committee to move the bill. Then things started going off the rails.
The conservative movement came out against the Adelson bill in force. Letters to the Hill noted the legislation tramples on the Tenth Amendment, is a blatant example of corporate cronyism, opens the door to Internet regulation and even damages efforts to prevent gun controllers from banning online sales of guns and ammo. These arguments were made in force by Rep. Mick Mulvaney at a December Government Oversight Committee hearing. After Mulvaney raised these points, the bill was left for dead.
Or so we thought.
The Senate recently passed the State, Justice, Commerce Appropriations legislation and tucked inside was a rider that was specifically inserted to help Adelson. The amendment states:
“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)
Despite any debate the provision remains in the bill where it heads to the House and a subcommittee headed by Texas Rep. John Culberson. Culberson is a conservative. He is pro-gun and pro-federalism. This provision, if he remains true to his beliefs, should be ripped out of the bill immediately.
In addition to the assault on federalism, the stench on cronyism, the obvious fact that is provision is designed to bolster a major political contributor there are even more dangers.
As Gun Owners of America notes, the real danger of the Adelson bill is it could become a precedent for anti-gunners who have tried since 1999 to outlaw online stores that sell ammunition and arrange for the sale of firearms through federally licensed dealers. This provision creates a precedent that gun grabbers will cite in their efforts to regulate the Internet as it pertains the to the Second Amendment.
This provision cannot stand and should be deleted from the bill immediately. This is a classic example of why Congress’ approval ratings are in the tank. This provision is a reward for a billionaire political contributor. It violates core conservative principles and it failed to garner any real support in Congress. Yet is now has a real chance to passing, thanks to a Senator who wants to thank his political contributor. You couldn’t more succinctly describe why Congress’ approval ratings are in the tank.