WASHINGTON (March 25, 2015) – The Restoring America’s Wire Act (RAWA) would overextend federal reach and usurp states’ rights, the R Street Institute’s Executive Director Andrew Moylan said in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee today.

The legislation expands the 1961 Wire Act to cover all forms of gambling, but goes a step further to prohibit all wire or Internet gambling transmissions, including those conducted over the Internet in states that may have chosen to license and regulate gambling.

Both the Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) were written to help states in their own law enforcement pursuits and were circumscribed to cover only genuinely international or interstate activity.

“By appearing to extend its reach to wholly intrastate conduct, RAWA unwisely empowers the federal government,” testified Moylan. “This both impedes upon an area of law that is traditionally reserved for the states, and establishes a dangerous precedent in suggesting that mere use of a communications platform like the Internet subjects all users and all activity to the reach of the federal government, no matter its location or nature.”

Instead, Moylan suggested modifying the language of the RAWA to more closely resemble that of UIEGA, which carefully exempted intrastate payments and those between states with legal gambling.

“If limited government and federalism are to have any meaning in the 21st century and beyond, Congress must exercise restraint in claims of such power and RAWA in its current form is not consistent with that needed restraint,” he said.

Moylan’s full testimony can be found here.

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