New Jersey Attorney General suing DOJ over Wire Act opinion

DOJ wire act

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal wants answers from the Department of Justice (DOJ) about lobbying that may have led to the new opinion of the Wire Act.

And he wanted it yesterday.

Grewal has sued the DOJ to get that information. In March Grewal, on behalf of the state of New Jersey filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all DOJ records pertaining to the Wire Act from 2011 to 2018.

This include everything from memos, to communications to meetings. Specifically, Grewal was looking for any connections between the DOJ, the Wire Act and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Why Sheldon Adelson?

New Jersey and many other state organizations believe Adelson had a hand in the new Wire Act opinion through extensive lobbying against online gambling. A fierce opponent of online gambling, Adelson has spent millions of dollars supporting political candidates that were also against online gambling and would bring in laws banning it nationwide.

When Grewal filed his FOIA request in March he filed it as an expediated processing request. He also specified a 90-day window in his request, which passed earlier this week. Grewal was actually being quite generous to the DOJ, as expediated FOIA requests made in US District Court are required to be filled within 20 days.

“Online gaming is an important part of New Jersey’s economy, and the residents of New Jersey deserve to know why the Justice Department is threatening to come after an industry we legalized years ago,” Grewal said in a statement.

“It’s especially important that we figure out whether this federal crackdown is the result of a lobbying campaign by a single individual seeking to protect his personal business interests.”

As New Jersey’s new lawsuit against the DOJ begins, it is still awaiting a result on the lawsuit joined with New Hampshire and other states looking to have the new opinion dropped. The hearing on that lawsuit took place on April 11, with the judge demanding the DOJ give a clear picture of what the Wire Act covered.

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