Gambling Debate Holds up Treasury Appointments

28 January 2010

The fight is on in Washington D.C. four Presidential appointments for Treasury Dept. positions are being held up by Arizona Republican Jon Kyl, to protest to protest a move by the Obama administration and the Federal Reserve to delay by six months the enforcement of regulations prohibiting gambling on the web.

Two of the appointments being held up are Lael Brainard to the position of Undersecretary of International Affairs, and Charles Collyns to the position of Assistant Secretary of International Finance.

Under Senate rules, any senator can put an indefinite “hold” on any political appointment.

The regulations in question were written following the passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The regulations were written in 2008 just before the Bush Administration left office.

After the inaugaration of President Barack Obama, the Treasury Dept. delayed the implementation of the regulations, intended to implement the anti-gaming law, at the request of Democratic Congressman Barney Frank. The rules will require financial institutions to have procedures in place to preventpayments being made to illegal gambling businesses. The rules are set to go into effect June 1, 2010.

The hold up of the appointments is hurting the Obama administration. Clay Lowery, Assistant Secretary of International Affairs under the Bush Administration, says that with these positions vacant, nobody below Secretary Geithner of Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin, will be able to represent the United States at the G7 or G20 international conferences.

In the past, the undersecretary of international affairs has played a central role in investigating and approving sensitive transactions.

The Treasury Dept. states that it is fully capable to handling it’s responsibilities even without these positions being filled.