Posts Tagged ‘Dent’

Rep. Charlie Dent Retiring from Congress Earlier Than Expected

 Rep. Charlie Dent Retiring from Congress Earlier Than Expected

You know that feeling when you are around a person and you think to yourself, “Why won’t they just go away already?” Well, I’ve never been around him, but I’ve had that feeling about Rep. Charlie Dent (R – Penn.) for a while now. And guess what? He’s actually about to go away! Last fall, Dent announced that he would not run for re-election, but recently, he decided he wasn’t even going to wait for the end of his term and would walk away within the next few weeks. Though he is not my representative (mine is actually worse), I will not miss him.

Dent has positioned himself as a moderate Republican, serving as co-chair of the Tuesday Group Caucus, which is supposed to be a counter to the continued shifting of the party to the far right. But despite this positioning, Dent took up an extremely conservative stance on online poker, looking to ban it completely.

But it’s not even his objectively stupid stance on internet poker that I despise about him. It’s that he tried to get the game banned in an acutely unethical manner. See, he’s another one of those Sheldon Adelson jock-sniffers in Congress who will do the billionaire Republican donor’s bidding even if it goes against the best interest of his constituents (Pennsylvania, remember, legalized online poker and will see sites launch this year). Though Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) hasn’t done much on Capitol Hill and has been widely seen, even by most Republicans, as crony capitalism, Dent tried at least once to sneak RAWA language into an appropriations bill. The idea was to tack it on to a bill that was sure to pass without anyone noticing, then viola! No more online poker.

Here’s what the language looked like. Dent tried it in 2016, then was supposedly going to do it again last year, but I do not believe he ended up doing so:

The Memorandum Opinion for the Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, dated September 20, 2011, and pertaining to the lawfulness of proposals by Illinois and New York to use the Internet and out-of-state transaction processors to sell lottery tickets to in-state adults (including the applicability of the Wire Act (18 U.S.C. 1084) and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (31 U.S.C. 5361–5367) to such proposal), does not carry the force of law and shall have no force and effect for purposes of interpreting or applying section 5362(a)(10) of title 31, United States Code.

Fortunately, some of Dent’s lawmaker colleagues saw what he was doing and disapproved, so he only submitted the amendment then immediately withdrew it.

From various interviews, it seems like part of why Dent is leaving Congress early is that he’s simply sick of Donald Trump and his administration. While he hasn’t completely come out and condemned Trump, he has admitted that he is tired of all the childish tweets and insane behavior coming from the White House, that it all gets in the way of what he and others are trying to get accomplished (even if some of what he wants to accomplish is crap). He was going to be done at the end of the year anyway, so he figured, might as well end the headache and be done now.

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Ron Paul Scolds Rep. Charlie Dent for Sneaky RAWA Efforts in Op-Ed

 Ron Paul Scolds Rep. Charlie Dent for Sneaky RAWA Efforts in Op Ed

Regardless of what one thinks about former Texas Congressman Ron Paul, poker fans have got to appreciate the support he has given online poker over the years. And though he is no longer in the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul is still making his feelings known about the subject, calling out Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent in an op-ed for PennLive.com for attempting to sneak an online gambling ban through without so much of a debate.

In June, it was reported that Dent was going to attempt to add language to the House Appropriations Bill – a gigantic bill which authorizes government funds each year – that would nullify the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel’s (OLC) clarification of the Wire Act from back in December 2011.

The Wire Act, originally passed in 1961, explicitly made sports betting over telephone lines illegal as a way to try to slow down organized crime. As online gambling and poker rose to prominence, the Department of Justice interpreted the Wire Act to include all online gambling, not just sports betting.

In December 2011, though, the OLC clarified the Wire Act, saying that it did only ban internet sports betting. Because of this correct re-interpretation, Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey have legalized and regulated online gambling and a number of states, including Dent’s Pennsylvania, are working on the same thing.

This got Sheldon Adelson, the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. and one of the country’s biggest Republican political donors, riled up and since then, he has tried to push his Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) through Congress, a bill which essentially says, “Yeah, that OLC memo doesn’t count. The Wire Act bans all online gambling.”

He has used Republican Senators and Representatives who want to be in his good graces to do his bidding, one of the latest of which seems to be Dent.

Dent actually tried this last year, but his colleagues found out about it before he could submit his amendment to the Appropriations Bill and told him it wasn’t going to happen. He still submitted it to save face before withdrawing it. Here is how it read.

And now, as Dent gets set to insert RAWA-language into another Appropriations Bill, Ron Paul is spitting fire. In his op-ed, Paul says that Dent’s “….proposed ban on online gambling violates the principles of federalism and threatens the constitutional rights of all Americans, regardless of whether they gamble online.”

He goes on to outline how arguments against online gambling are mostly bullshit scare tactics and that “Criminalizing online gaming could also set a dangerous precedent that could be used to attack other rights, including the right to keep and bear arms.”

Paul adds that the sheer fact that RAWA supporters like Dent are trying to sneak this through is evidence that they know they are full of shit. Otherwise, they would let it be debated.

“Sneaking this bill onto the Appropriations bill is exactly the type of political ‘trick play’ that has made so many Americans disgusted with Congress,” Paul writes. “This is especially so given that it is an open secret that much of the support for this bill comes from one billionaire caisson owner who is also one of the country’s largest political donors. No wonder a federal ban on online gaming is opposed by political figures from across the political spectrum, from libertarians like myself to progressives like Barney Frank.”

Featured photo credit: ronpaulinstitute.org

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