WASHINGTON IN BRIEF

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Justice Dept. Closes Offshore Online Casino

The government dismantled a $2.5 billion offshore Internet gambling operation, the Justice Department said yesterday, charging two fugitives and their companies with laundering gambling proceeds from Internet casino games and sporting events.

A newly unsealed indictment accuses William Scott and Jessica Davis of illegally enticing gamblers to send money from the United States to the Caribbean island of Antigua for wagers over eight years.

Gamblers placed the bets by toll-free telephone numbers and through Internet sites run by WorldWide Telesports Inc.

The indictment alleges the defendants violate the Wire and Travel Acts and engaged in a money-laundering conspiracy.

Pelosi Urges Democrats To Talk About Oil Prices

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is hoping that high oil prices will fuel anti-Republican sentiments as the summer driving season begins, but she isn't leaving that to chance.

In a "recess packet," Pelosi has given Democratic members some Memorial Day weekend homework: Hold at least one event in their districts either on high energy prices that would "highlight the cost and consequences of Republicans' corruption" or on veterans and U.S. armed forces.

The office of the House's top Democrat had suggestions about message: "Oil Men Bush, Cheney and their Republican Congress give big subsidies and big tax breaks to their Big Oil and gas backers, including $9.5 billion in subsidies in last year's energy bill and protecting $20 billion in royalty-free drilling, while killing Democrats' efforts last year to keep gas and energy prices down."

Ad Campaign Targets 'Warming Alarmism'

The libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute is launching a national television ad campaign today attacking "global warming alarmism" and the calls for curbs on greenhouse gases linked to climate change.

The two 60-second spots -- which will air in 14 markets including Washington as well as Albany, Albuquerque, Anchorage and Dallas -- tout carbon dioxide as a harmless substance that humans breathe out and trees absorb.

"Carbon dioxide," the female announcer intones in each of the two ads, which cost $50,000 to produce and air. "They call it pollution. We call it life."

Pew Center on Global Climate Change President Eileen Claussen questioned the ads themselves, saying: "According to the CEI line of reasoning, you can never have too much of a good thing. Therefore what New England is experiencing is not so much disastrous flooding, but rather an abundance of life-sustaining rainwater."

Daschle to Weigh Support for '08 Bid

Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle will gauge potential support for a 2008 presidential bid with stops in Iowa, New Hampshire and Michigan next month.

Daschle, the three-term South Dakota senator who lost a reelection bid in 2004, said that the trip is a logical progression as he weighs a White House run.

-- Staff writers Steve Mufson and Juliet Eilperin and news services


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