| Kyl/Goodlatte Speculation Reaches Frenzy
by Bradley Vallerius
March 8, 2006 (iGamingNews.com) It is anticipated that within the week Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., may attempt to attach an online gambling prohibition bill to a larger bill aimed at lobbying reform. It seems likely that Sen. Kyl's legislation will be nearly identical to the prohibition bill introduced by Rep. James Leach, R-Iowa, in November 2005, which also happens to be scheduled to appear before the House Financial Services Committee this week.
Following revelations in October 2005 that lobbyist Jack Abramoff-- who has since pleaded guilty to a number of federal offenses--worked to defeat a bill in the House of Representatives in 2000, online gambling prohibition has been a primary target for Republicans wishing to distance themselves from the Abramoff scandals.
Sen. Kyl's attempt to attach online gambling legislation as an amendment to the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill proved unsuccessful in September 2005 after the ranking member of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee objected to the attachment on the grounds that it constituted general legislation on an appropriations bill and was therefore out of order.
But with the subject of the impending bill being lobbying reform and reparations, Kyl's amendment has a slimmer chance of being rejected this time.
"This would demonstrate that not only are we changing the mechanisms [of lobbying], here is one tangible result," Kyl told the Wall Street Journal. "Jack Abramoff is not going to have his way now."
The reason for such broad and renewed support in the fight against online gambling is because lawmakers want to "show some separation between them and him," said Rep. Goodlatte, who was the chief sponsor of the defeated 2000 bill. Since introducing HR 4777 (The Internet Gambling Prohibition Act) on Feb. 16, Goodlatte has already obtained over 100 co-sponsors.
Even Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Tex., the man whose aid received $50,000 via payments to his wife from Abramoff, is reported to support Goodlatte's bill. It has been widely reported that the very same aid, Tony Rudy, assisted in putting the 2000 bill on the suspension calendar, which requires bills to obtain two-thirds approval in the House, rather than a majority.
Mike Connolly, a spokesperson for DeLay, told the Wall Street Journal that DeLay opposed the bill in 2000 because it contained too many exemptions.
Goodlatte's prohibitory model differs from that of Kyl in that Goodlatte's bill would update the Wire Act to clarify that all unauthorized forms of gambling conducted by any remote means are illegal, while Kyl's bill seeks to eliminate the use of credit cards and other financial instruments to pay for online gambling services.
It is thought that Kyl's bill will be nearly identical to one that was introduced by Rep. James Leach, R-Iowa, in November 2005. Leach's office has stated that the two legislators worked together in drafting the bills.
Leach's bill, The Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (HR 4411), is scheduled for review by the House Financial Services Committee this week. The committee is chaired by Rep. Michael G. Oxley, R-Ohio, who has also been one of the fiercest opponents of online gambling for the last 10 years.
Last month America's major sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA) wrote to each House representative to urge support for Leach's bill.
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