AG Nominee Says Would Revisit DOJ's Wire Act Opinion of 2011January 12, 2017 11:27 am
On January 10th, Jeff Sessions went in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee to answer questions ahead of his being confirmed as the country’s new Attorney General. Amongst the many questions he was asked during the day was his view on the reinterpretation of the Wire Act by the Department of Justice in 2011, a decision that ultimately enabled individual states to subsequently launch their own online gambling industries.
In a worrying sign for online poker fans, Sessions replied that he was “shocked” by the DOJ’s decision, and that he would reexamine the situation based upon careful study should he be confirmed as the USA’s next Attorney General.
“Apparently there is some justification or argument that can be made to support the Department of Justice’s position. But I did oppose it when it happened, and it seemed to me to be unusual,” explained Sessions.
Nevertheless, analysts have suggested that a new memo regarding the Wire Act was not a given following his AG appointment, and that Sessions would have his hands full with a range of other more serious issues before the Wire Act and online poker ever made it onto his official agenda. Furthermore, it was Sen. Lindsey Graham that asked Sessions about the subject, a known supporter of The Restoration Of America’s Wire Act (RAWA), but we know that up until now Sessions has never signed on as a co-sponsor of the anti-online gambling piece of legislation.
In the meantime, the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) had been following the hearing with great interest and after Sessions made his comment, the organization’s Executive Director, John Pappas, released a statement expressing his belief that any “careful study” of the topic would undoubtedly lead to a reaffirmation of the decision made by the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC).
“We also trust that he adheres to the longstanding practice of giving ‘great weight to any relevant past opinions’ when he reviews OLC’s 2011 position with regard to the Wire Act. The precedent of giving weight to prior OLC decisions is something both the Bush and Obama administrations advised in published ‘Best Practices’ memorandums,” explained Pappas.