Revolving Doors and Midnight Lawmaking

Up until March of this year, Washington lobbyist William Wichterman was registered with the D.C. law firm Covington & Burling.  While there, he represented the National Football League in the successful effort to push through the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which will force banks and other financial institutions to block their customers from placing bets at online poker, sports wagering, and other gaming sites.

(It's worth noting that despite its protestations that online gambling fosters addiction and threatens to corrupt the spirit of competition, the NFL was able to win an exemption to the bill to allow for pay-for-play fantasy football leagues over the Internet.)

According to the Politico, in March, Wichterman was hired on as a White House aide.  His main responsibility?  Help the Bush administration write the rules of the UIGEA.  Wichterman and the White House are now trying to push the new rules through "before Nov. 17, in the narrow window before the new administration could make any changes, according to people familiar with these deliberations."

Wichterman's short leap from chief UIGEA lobbyist to top UIGEA enforcer (before his gig at Covington, Wichterman worked for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, where he also worked to ban Internet gambling) has raised the suspicions of Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.). 

Cohen posed a series of questions in a letter to White House Counsel Fred Fielding, including whether the White House knew of Wichterman's lobbying for the UIGEA on behalf of the NFL; if so, why they allowed him to work on the enforcement of the Act, anyway; how much time the White House requires to lapse before lobbyists hired into the administration can go to work on the issues they were lobbying for; and if Wichterman plans to go back to representing the NFL after he leaves his stint in the White House.

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  • ||

    "So up until March of this year, Washington lawyer William Wichterman was a registered lobbyist with the D.C. law firm Covington & Burling. While there, he represented the National Football League the successful effort to push through the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA), which will force banks and other financial institutions to block their customers from placing bets at online poker, sports wagering, and other gaming sites.

    (It's worth noting that despite it's protestations that online gambling fosters addiction and threatens to corrupt the spirit of competition, the NFL was able to win an exemption to the bill to allow for pay-for-play fantasy football leagues over the Internet.) "

    Hey guys, remember that discussion we had yesterday about corporate interests lobbying lawmakers for regulations to squeeze out their competition.

    Yeah. This is what we were talking about.

  • JMR||

    Yep. Obama may not have deserved to win, but the Republicans certainly deserved to lose.

  • quandoque bonus dormitat Homer||

    despite it's protestations

  • ||

    Hey guys, remember that discussion we had yesterday about corporate interests lobbying lawmakers for regulations to squeeze out their competition.

    Yeah. This is what we were talking about.



    I can only add that such it has always been, such it will always be. For some reason the average voter is unable to discern the obvious.

  • robc||

    J sub D,

    But dont you understand? If we only elected the right people....

  • ||

    I've got to admit I'm loving the unintentional irony of the aptly named "Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act."

  • mr simple||

    Wait a minute. Are you saying there are liars and thieves involved with the government? I do protest, sir. Next you'll be telling me the government can't solve all of my problems.

  • dhex||

    man, that is one hell of a gig. no matter what happens you are paid in full.

  • ||

    First Amendment question:

    Would it be a violation of the First Amendment to pay someone to lobby the government?

  • ||

    Try again:

    Would it be a violation of the First Amendment to make it against the law to pay someone to lobby the government?

  • ||

    "Would it be a violation of the First Amendment to make it against the law to pay someone to lobby the government?"

    It's not so much the lobbying I have a problem with. It's the result.

  • HAL-9000||

    Its fitting I went all in on Obama winning on the sportsfutures props market at my gambling sight of choice and made 10% in one easy night. Haha.

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