Federal charges that some of his online poker buddies are running a $444 million Ponzi scheme haven’t caused U.S. Rep. Barney Frank to stop his push to legalize online gambling, but the Newton Democrat said he’ll take $18,600 in campaign contributions from an indicted trio out of the pot and return it to victims if the men are found guilty.
“I was very disappointed to hear of the allegations,” said Frank, referring to accusations that campaign donors Howard Lederer, Rafael Furst and Chris Ferguson of Full Tilt Poker defrauded online players of millions of dollars.
“But it doesn’t change my views,” Frank said. “If anything, it strengthens them. Online gambling should be legal, so government can regulate it.”
Critics yesterday blasted Frank and others, including Sen. Harry Reid and President Obama, for taking money associated with an illegal business. Frank also drew fire for taking donations from an industry that he would regulate.
“Frank should refund every nickel of the tens of thousands in campaign donations linked to online gambling,” said state GOP spokesman Tim Buckley. “It appears Mr. Frank is another congressman willing to associate with criminals.”
Frank, who sponsored a 2007 bill to legalize online gambling, said he would put donations from Lederer, Furst and Ferguson into a special account and donate it to a fund for victims if the Justice Department sets one up — and if the men are found guilty.
Any policy or company or ponzi scheme is fine with many politicians as long as it is controlled by the government and brings in revenue to be spent and wasted by those same politicians!