Nevada Attorney General Supports RAWA

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Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt told Politico magazine’s contributing editor Jon Ralston that he will sign a letter with other Attorneys General supporting Sheldon Adelson’s Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA). Laxalt explained his position on Ralston’s show, “Ralston Live,” which airs on Nevada Public Broadcasting.

When asked to confirm that he is going to sign the letter, Laxalt did just that, saying, “I intend to sign onto the letter. It’s circulating now.”

The letter to which he is referring was spearheaded by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson in October, a petition seeking to gain as many state Attorney General signatures as possible in order to urge the leadership of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to support RAWA. The same thing was done in early 2014 and got a dozen signatures, aside from the originators of the letter.

But one wouldn’t think that the Attorney General of Nevada, the United States’ gambling hub and one of three states to legalize online poker, would want any part of this. Ralston questioned Laxalt about his decision, specifically bringing asking him how he could support a bill that flies in the face of Nevada’s state’s right to make its own choices on gambling. Laxalt’s response:

There’s a couple giant exceptions to this, alright? One is Congress spoke on this issue and had an existing Wire Act, ok? And then Attorney General Holder issued an opinion a few days before Christmas some years ago and changed that landscape. He changed that landscape without gaming companies, without law enforcement, without all the parties that should’ve been involved to make sure that we can keep consumers safe and all this can be done properly. So, I think obviously in this case we’re looking to return it back to what the status quo was, that Congress passed, and, you know, the other thing is obviously gaming is a different animal. You know, you have, you need to know where the sources of money are coming from and you need to make sure you can police this area.

It is naturally assumed that Laxalt, a politician in his own right, is trying to curry favor with billionaire Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, but Laxalt told Ralston that he has not spoken with Adelson about RAWA or the petition. In mentioning that Adelson, Steve Wynn, and Nevada Senators Harry Reid and Dean Heller support RAWA, Laxalt said, “People have been looking at this issue and I think that there’s consensus – obviously, with some exceptions – that we should return back to the status quo and then we put it back to Congress so these guys can figure it out.”

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval was disappointed in Laxalt’s stance on RAWA, saying, “….I am very concerned that anyone representing the state’s legal interests would speak out against current state law in our leading industry. At its core, this is a state’s rights issue and I disagree with the Attorney General that a federal government one-size-fits-all solution is in the best interest of Nevada.”

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Remember, Laxalt’s sister works for J3 Strategies – lobby group for Adelson’s CSIG.

Money quote: “the only other j3 Strategies lobbyist mentioned on the company’s website is Therese “Tessa” Laxalt. Oh, that Tessa Laxalt, sister to Adam Laxalt, the new Nevada Attorney General who was elected in large part due to hefty campaign contributions from — you guessed it — Sheldon Adelson. That’s called a direct chute chock full of political grease, right into the highest reaches of Nevada politics.”

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