Suspicion over Politician’s Motives
By dave
Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah calls gambling a ''pernicious vice'' which he’d like to “eliminate”, which didn’t prevent him from trying to stop the recent US online gambling bill. To put it mildly, some of the already-conservative states more conservative citizens are a bit suspicious.

Cannon says he tried to stop a bad bill that could legalize online wagering in his state - one of two that prohibits all forms of gambling. However, according to an analysis of his campaign finance disclosures, Cannon has received $33,850 in political contributions since 2001 from Indian tribes with casinos, lobbyists for the online gambling industry and other opponents of the legislation,

''You merely need to look at his record and where his funding comes from and follow the path,'' said Rev. Cynthia Abrams, of the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, which backed the bill. ''I think there's a pretty clear connection there.''

Tom Grey, executive director of the National Coalition Against Gambling Expansion, said it is impossible to know if Cannon's opposition to the Internet gambling bill was affected by the contributions, but ''it certainly does not look real good.''

''You have a Utah representative taking gambling money and at the same time saying that he's trying to protect his state from the evils of gambling,'' he said. ''I don't think the two square.''

Critics also note that Cannon's former chief of staff, David Safavian, was a lobbyist whose clients included the Interactive Gaming Council, the National Indian Gaming Association and gaming tribes.

Cannon denies any inconsistency.

''The fact is my position about gambling has been very, very clear since I entered politics,'' he said. ''I oppose gambling. I think it's a pernicious vice. I'd like to eliminate it. We can't eliminate it in today's legal environment, so I want to do the next best thing which is regulate it,'' said Cannon, who is co-sponsoring a bill to create a panel to study regulating Internet gambling.

Cannon said the contributions are in no way tied to the gambling issue and he does not take money from the industry.

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