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Oxley to Piggyback Funding Prohibition Bill on Anti-Terrorism Legislation


Oxley to Piggyback Funding Prohibition Bill on Anti-Terrorism Legislation
Kevin Smith, CongressDaily - 01/15/06

An ongoing concern among those who oppose legislation to prohibit Internet gambling in the United States is the passage of such policy as a measure attached to a larger, unrelated bill. That fear could be realized if Rep. Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, has his way.

Oxley, chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services and a longtime advocate of Internet gambling prohibition, plans to add H.R. 2143, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Funding Prohibition Act, to an anti-terrorism bill currently in committee.

A federal law passed in 2002 created a commission to study the intelligence and law enforcement failures that made the U.S. susceptible to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The commission released its final report in July 2004, and one of the recommendations was to increase the scrutiny of financial transactions originating offshore.

Based on this finding, Oxley wants to attach H.R. 2143 to a working bill aimed at putting some of the commission's recommendations into law.

Introduced by Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala. and passed in the House as a standalone bill in 2003, H.R. 2143 would ban the use of credit cards, wire transfers, e-cash and other forms of payment for funding Internet gambling activities.

The 9/11 bill is scheduled for its second hearing in the Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, and CongressDaily reported Monday that Oxley will seek to a add the funding prohibition measure.

As chairman of the committee , Oxley is in a good position to do so, but that's not to say the strategy wouldn't be met with resistance.

"The leadership wants the 9/11 bill focused," one Washington insider told IGN. "If they add this provision (H.R. 2143) onto it, then anyone can add anything they want down the road, and they don't want to open up that box."

The gaming provision will likely see some daylight, he added, "but I doubt it will win."

The 9/11 bill is scheduled for markup on Sept. 29, and Congress is scheduled to recess on Oct. 8 to give members time to campaign and gear up for the election on Nov. 2. That means time is of the essence, and heavily debated provisions like H.R. 2143 could slow the process of moving the full 9/11 bill.

Wednesday's hearing was called to discuss proposed modifications to the anti-terrorism law known as the USA PATRIOT Act. Part of the act covers anti-money laundering, and the 9/11 Commission felt the law should be modified with some "purely technical" additions.

A spokesperson for Oxley's office told CongressDaily that the changes would give more authority to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and include language to address both Internet gambling and anti-counterfeiting technology.

Oxley made a similar move during the PATRIOT Act markup in 2001, when he attempted to add the same prohibition language to the bill's money laundering provisions. The bill was ultimately stripped of the Internet gambling funding prohibition amendment before passing.