Republican presidential candidates have worn out the carpets of the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in an effort to win over establishment Republican donor Sheldon Adelson. The media have dubbed the campaign the “Adelson Primary,” as the hand-picked winner will be the beneficiary of perhaps $100 million of the billionaire’s political largess. But as Milton Friedman once quipped, “there is no free lunch.” To get Adelson’s support requires the abandonment of constitutional ideals and principles, particularly the Tenth Amendment. Today, GOP hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) decided that the money was more important than the Constitution.
Adelson has spent millions over the past few years in a quixotic campaign to prohibit states from legalizing online gambling. New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware have already legalized online gaming for their residents and other states are considering following suit. That is what has Adelson up in arms and promised to “spend whatever it takes” to rid the country of these laws. He views the growing use of the Internet as a threat to his casinos and he is doing what any good crony would — he has turned to the politicians to do his dirty work.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), in desperate need for campaign cash, introduced the Adelson bill in the last Congress. The bill was panned by conservatives, libertarians and constitutionalists as a classic example of cronyism. More importantly, the bill would overturn state laws and force the states to come to DC on bended knee for permission to deal with state laws on gambling. The legislation also raises the specter of the government restricting the Internet. Despite the obvious dangers and problems, the bill was reintroduced today with the support of Mr. Rubio.
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan), Congress’ leading proponent of liberty, tweeted that the effort to ban online gaming finds a casino mogul complaining “that online gaming undermines family values.” He added that the legislation “must be stopped.” Amash, as usual, is correct in his assessment. The Adelson power grab represents everything that is wrong with Washington. It also exposes the politicians willing to sell their soul to the highest bidder. Today, Marco Rubio joined that category.