A New Witness Will Highlight Inherent Hypocrisy Of RAWA At Upcoming House Hearing

March 23, 2015
A New Witness Will Highlight Inherent Hypocrisy Of RAWA At Upcoming House Hearing

The witness list for Wednesday’s scheduled RAWA (Restoration of America’s Wire Act) hearing in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations is now official. It’s on Congressional letterhead, so it doesn’t get much more official than that.

A new name now appears along with the four we originally learned ofAndrew Moylan, the Executive Director of R Street, who will ostensibly be playing the role of states’ rights advocate at the hearing.

The addition of Moylan is the second piece of positive news regarding the hearing, as we learned Friday that the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), along with GeoComply and Caesars Entertainment, will be hosting an online gaming technology demonstration the morning of the RAWA hearing.

Did pressure get Moylan added?

It’s likely Moylan was added due to the initial backlash over the subcommittee’s unofficial witness list. The witness list was so slanted towards anti-online gambling advocates that it had been labeled everything from kabuki theater to a dog and pony show, and even the mainstream media (particularly right wing news sites) were quick to blast Chaffetz and RAWA supporters.

Andrew Moylan has been involved in politics (first with the Cato Institute, followed by National Taxpayers Union, and R Street) since graduating from Michigan University in 2005. Even though he has not personally commented on online gambling, Moylan is a staunch states’ rights and civil liberties advocate who is expected to be a strong witness against RAWA.

If this column from R Street is any indication, Moylan should be an excellent witness for the anti-RAWA crowd. Moylan should round out the witness list quite nicely.

John A. Pappas, Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance, was pleased to see Moylan added to the witness list, telling USPoker.com:

“Andrew Moylan and R Street are a strong and credible voice in holding Congress accountable on matters of federalism and the 10th Amendment. Given RAWA’s serious implications for the rights of states to authorize and regulate internet gaming, Mr. Moylan will be a welcomed voice on the panel.

While Congressman Chaffetz likes to claim his bill ‘restores’ Congressional intent with respect to Internet gaming, it actually does exactly the opposite. Every bill that Congress considered to prevent offshore and unregulated Internet gaming in the US always preserved the rights of states to authorize the activity.

We hope Mr. Moylan will reinforce this message and correct the Congressman’s mischaracterization.”

Who will say what

We all know what to expect when John Kindt speaks: a lot of hyperbole, unsubstantiated claims and mischaracterizations  – real end of the world type stuff.

We also know what we’ll be getting from Les Bernal, the national director of the anti-gambling group Stop Predatory Gambling. Bernal will be just as opposed to online gaming as Kindt but on a more honest, moralistic level.

And then there is Michael Fagan, the former DOJ prosecutor and current Wash U – St. Louis Law School professor.

Everyone expects Fagan to be anti-online gambling. What we don’t know is how opposed to – or on what grounds he opposes – iGaming and the 2011 opinion by the OLC that reduced the Wire Act’s scope to sports betting.

In the past Fagan’s criticisms have seemed reasonable (I don’t agree with them, but they were credible concerns) but I’ve been told that Fagan could ramp up his opposition to online gaming, which was previously focused on illegal offshore gaming and the possible involvement of criminals.

Hopefully the former DOJ prosecutor sticks to the facts and doesn’t wander into the woods armed with only Sheldon Adelson’s CSIG talking points.

However, this seems like a distinct possibility considering Fagan also signed his name to a project (as did John Kindt) spearheaded by now disgraced software engineer James Thackston.

You may recall Thackston’s warnings about the vulnerabilities of online poker programs were not only widely discredited (multiple times), but it was later revealed that Thackston may have added names to op-eds without consent, and was charged with making what appeared to be subtle blackmail threats should online poker companies not buy his product.

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