Justice Department Urged to Suspend Witchhunt

by Lou on August 17, 2008

According to a Reuters report, Rep. Robert Wexler (pictured left), a Florida Democrat, and Rep. Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, urged the U.S. Justice Department to suspend investigations of European Internet gaming firms for possible criminal violations that occurred before Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006.
In separate letters Wexler and Cohen warned U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey that the issue could spark a damaging trade spat between the United States and the European Union at the World Trade Organization.
“In all likelihood, this issue will escalate and I understand could result in WTO action focused specifically on how the U.S. government enforces its laws. I cannot see how that can be in the interests of this country,” Wexler said in a letter to Mukasey last week.
European Internet gambling companies lost billions in market value after Congress enacted UIGEA which made it illegal for banks and credit card companies to process payments to online gambling sites.
Many publicly traded European companies, such as PartyGaming and 888.com, withdrew upon UIGEA’s passage, but continue to face possible criminal prosecution for activities before then.
The European Commission launched an investigation last March into whether Washington was singling out EU companies for enforcement actions, while allowing U.S. online firms to operate freely.
In a July 29 letter to Mukasey, Cohen said the Justice Department still had not provided a good reason why it was investigating “foreign operators who respected congressional intent in 2006 and withdrew from the market, while U.S. companies continue to operate uninterrupted.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to see this hypocrisy just blow away and disappear once the national elections are over, a new Congress is seated, and a new administration is in the White House? I’m hoping so, but I’ve learned never to doubt the self-serving, hypocritical stupidity that Congress all too often weaves into legislation in support of one special interest group or another, all at the expense of the majority of Americans.
When you get right down to it, the money I want to play poker with online is mine. I earned it, paid taxes on it, and I ought to be able to spend my discretionary income any damned way I please. I do not need Congress writing laws that protect me against myself, and in so doing, abrogate my own freedom to spend my money as I see fit.
Congress, please get off my back!

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