After spending tens of millions of dollars to elect a Republican Congress, Las Vegas casino titan Sheldon Adelson is looking for some payback. Sources on Capitol Hill fear that members of the House and Senate Republican leadership might be willing to throw the Tenth Amendment to the wayside and outlaw Adelson’s online competition as a way of saying thank you.
Adelson, whose net worth has been estimated to be $33 billion, has waged a two-year jihad against New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada state laws that afford residents of those states to participate in online gambling. Rather than lobbying those states to repeal their laws, Adelson has turned to Washington to have those laws unconstitutionally overturned.
Adelson’s lobbyist drafted legislation, often referred to as “RAWA” (Restore America’s Wire Act), which was quickly introduced by long-time Adelson ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Adelson returned the favor by hosting a fundraiser for Graham’s ridiculous presidential campaign.
Although three congressional hearings were held to jump-start the legislation, the bill has failed to move. Conservative groups like the Institute for Liberty, Freedom Works, and nearly two dozen other groups have raised critical objections. For one, RAWA tramples on the Constitution by overriding state laws. It opens the door to Internet regulation and, according to the General Counsel of Gun Owners of America, it sets a dangerous precedent that would open the door to Congress banning the sale of intrastate online ammunition sales.
Then there is the giant elephant in the room – why should Congress dole out special favors to a billionaire, even if that billionaire is a conservative? House Freedom Caucus leader Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) has circulated a letter demanding a “clean” end of the year spending bill to prevent RAWA language from being slipped in:
“We look forward to working with the new administration to accomplish the conservative agenda we all promised our constituents, and believe that a clean CR is the best way for that work to begin in January,” Mulvaney wrote.
The congressman continued: “The potential inclusion of language relating to issues such as Export-Import Bank quorum requirements, the Restoration of America’s Wire Act, and United Mine Workers of America pension guarantees runs afoul of regular order. There may be a day when a united Republican government wants to address these issues, but when that day comes, it should include committee hearings and markups, floor amendments, and conference reports—not language hidden inside must-pass legislation during a lame duck session of Congress.”
Donald Trump’s popular pledge to “drain the swamp” should go into effect today. By rejecting these special interest provisions and adopting Mulvaney’s demands for a spending bill without riders and special interest favors, the President-elect will prove to the world that he is truly the independent thinker and leader that he has projected himself to be. The time to act is now.