I couldn’t resist posting the view of where I’m blogging from. There’s something quite serene about sitting on grass in pinstripe slacks, leaning against a tree, with the view seen here …
I’m in a park just outside the Senate office building, where I just had a meeting with a rising* Kay Bailey Hutchison staffer. Didn’t get to pitch the
future governor of Texas senator herself — today is a crazy health care day around the Capitol — but we did get to educate her office on a Senate online poker bill that will supposedly be introduced in the next week or two. This bill — a re-introduction of Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) S-3616 — will be “like the Barney Frank bill, only it’s a cleaner bill … without any political bullshit,” one lobbyist explained to me.
Anyhow, the meeting went well, or at least well-ish. It was clear that KBH’s office hadn’t yet given any consideration to poker nor online gambling … so we got to lead out, and counteract the opposition arguments before they were even made. One noted positive — her staff has already been hit by a mini flood of letters supporting all our anti-UIGEA initiatives, so they know it’s an issue that matters to a sizable enough constituency to make it matter to elected officials, who apparently are very aware of any issue that potentially leaves them losing voters in bulk.
With that said, it also became clear that Hutchison (R-TX) will not be leading the way on this bill. Her staff was most interested in where Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) currently stands. Now while we know him as a previous bad guy, he and other UIGEA strongmen are apparently “coming around”. That’s not to say they’re suddenly going to switch teams, but Howard Lederer specifically made some persuasive arguments that made him far less likely to vehemently oppose us. The estimated $3 billion a year (which doesn’t even count the corporate taxes American-based online poker companies would pay) is resonating loud and clear, particularly this week as those wanting to position themselves as fiscal conservatives are trying to come up with a way to support health care despite its $200 billion shortfall. And being pegged as people who turned down tax revenue generated on behalf of protecting citizens and internet freedoms alike, they know may not sit well with voters.
* You can tell how much seniority a female congressional staffer has by the height of her heels. Apparently the youngest interns like to look all sassy with power spikes, but in due time, they realize that walking long, hard marble-floored hallways makes flats the way to go. The staffer we met with in KBH’s office was wearing short, two-inch heels.