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Public Statements

Conference Report On H.R. 4954, Safe Port Act

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 4954, SAFE PORT ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 29, 2006)

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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I was pleased to vote for the SAFE Ports Act when it was considered by Congress in May and I intend to do so tonight. However, I am disturbed that The Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act was added to this bill during conference. My understanding is that this provision was slipped into the bill at the conclusion of the conference even though internet gambling has nothing to do with port security.

I have long opposed The Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act since the federal government has no constitutional authority to ban or even discourage any form of internet gambling. In addition to being unconstitutional, this provision is likely to prove ineffective at ending internet gambling. Instead, by passing law proportion to ban internet gambling Congress will ensure that gambling is controlled by organized crime. History, from the failed experiment of prohibition to today's futile ``war on drugs,'' shows that the government cannot eliminate demand for something like internet gambling simply by passing a law. Instead, this provision will force those who wish to gamble over the internet to patronize suppliers willing to flaunt the ban. In many cases, providers of services banned by the government will be members of criminal organizations. Even if organized crime does not operate internet gambling enterprises their competitors are likely to be controlled by organized crime. After all, since the owners and patrons of internet gambling cannot rely on the police and courts to enforce contracts and resolve other disputes, they will be forced to rely on members of organized crime to perform those functions. Thus, the profits of internet gambling will flow into organized crime. Furthermore, outlawing an activity will raise the price vendors are able to charge consumers, thus increasing the profits flowing to organized crime from internet gambling. It is bitterly ironic that a bill masquerading as an attack on crime will actually increase organized crime's ability to control and profit from internet gambling!

In conclusion, the ban on internet gambling violates the constitutional limits on federal power. Furthermore, laws such as this are ineffective in eliminating the demand for vices such as internet gambling; instead, they ensure that these enterprises will be controlled by organized crime. It is a shame to clutter an important and good piece of legislation like the Safe Ports Act with a blatantly unconstitutional power grab over the internet like the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act.

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