What’s the Deal With Pete Sessions and Poker?

I couldn’t care less what kind of venues my beloved congressman chooses for his fund-raising parties. After all, he’s a grown man. The question that popped into my head was, why is a Dallas congressman hosting major fund-raising events in Las Vegas? So I called his Washington office and asked for a list of those who attended. After much hemming and hawing, this is what I got in response:

“PETE PAC follows the letter and spirit of the law by filing expenses, contributors, and contributions to candidates each month with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Congressman Sessions is proud to have one of the most efficient Leadership PACs in Congress, giving out more than $1.6 million to Republican candidates since 2001.”

So I went here to try to get the attendees. No such luck, but suddenly the Las Vegas connnection started getting more interesting. For example, there’s self-described “professional poker player” Howard Lederer and his wife Susan with a combined donation of $10,000. Andrew Bloch, another “professional poker player,” gave $4,000. Doyle Brunson tossed some more chips on the table with another $4,000. Barry Shulman was in for $2,000, and Linda Johnson matched up to $500.

Now I’m sure all these Las Vegas residents are perfectly respectable citizens, and I for one am glad to see them engaged in the political process. But why did they choose a Dallas congressman as the vessel of their civic participation? Simple. Go to the the congressman’s statement on proposed UIGEA regulations issued on April 2, 2008. Then note that this year’s Vegas cash started flowing on April 7, 2008. Seems like Nevada has bought itself an extra congressman.


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19 responses to “What’s the Deal With Pete Sessions and Poker?”

  1. fruitdog says:

    Damn you Pete Sessions!
    Just when I think you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this…

    and totally redeem yourself!

  2. Dr. Know says:

    This is excellent work on your part, Wick. Would have loved to have seen this type of reporting in our daily newspaper.

  3. Wes Mantooth says:

    Wick, Sessions has been on record as being against the UIGEA for quite some time. At a meeting in his office shortly after the UIGEA was passed, he had a lengthy discussion with poker pros and local citizens about how it would be in everyone’s interest to make sure that poker is exempted from the UIGEA. Horse racing and lotteries are exempted, for heaven’s sake, and poker is much more skill-based than either of those activities.

    How is what Lederer et al. doing any different than any other group of folks who have a shared interest on an issue of Federal legislation?

  4. Arec Barrwin says:

    Wow. What a shocker. A congressman takes a position on an issue, and citizens who agree with the position give the congressman money. Never seen that before.

  5. Jack Jett says:

    I don’t care either that Pete Sessions likes to see some breastage while he campaigns.
    However, it is a little hypocritical if you look at how he got his panties up in a bunch when the Janet Jackson/Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction.

  6. BJ says:

    OMG! Maybe Pete is not that dumb, maybe he is just listening to his staff.

    Are you kidding me! The Great Wick Allison asks one simple question and all he get’s is a blanket statement from some junior staffer talking about how wonderful the PeterPAC is b/c it gives money to Republicans.

    What is the PeterPAC personnel trying to hide?

    Keep after them Wick!

    I am going to start “Walk’n and Talk’n for Pauken” as a write in candidate, this should be his Congressional District anyway.

  7. Wes Mantooth says:

    Maybe you can get Marty Frost to run for it again. He’s a real peach.

  8. m says:

    One word: ReunionCasino

  9. It is a shame about Pete Sessions and Wick is dead on about him. However, I wish he would go after a House Leadership that still tolerates the presence of William “Cold Cash” Jefferson or ABSCAM’S Unindicted Coconspirator John Murtha. Murtha is also the same person who slandered 8 of his fellow Marines by acussing them of starting the Haditha Massacre.

  10. Fan of Sports says:

    I guess I dont understand what the issue is. A congressman is against something that is costing working Americans money so they donate to his campaign, right? Someone fill me in.

  11. OakCliff says:

    Was it Pete Sessions, at the behest of Jack Abramoff, who tried to block some casinos in order to help other casinos? Yes it was.

    With Pete it is never about principle, morality, patriotism, truth, wisdom, or justice. With Pete: Follow the money.

    Also with Pete: He always has a good excuse.

    This is from Wikipedia:
    “In late 2001 and early 2002, Sessions cosigned letters to two Cabinet members asking them to shut down casinos operated by several Native American tribes. Within 18 months of sending the letters, Sessions received a total of $20,500 from tribes associated with Abramoff raising suspicion that Sessions had written the letters to curry favor with Abramoff as he represented a number of competing tribes. In response, the Sessions office said he wrote the letters because of his view that gambling is a local issue, falling under his long held support for federalism.”

    Gambling is a local issue. How nice for Pete the Protector.

  12. Wick Allison says:

    BJ: Unfortunately, it was not a lowly employee; it was his chief of staff. After much haggling, he agreed to send me the list. Then he phoned back to say they would be issuing a statement instead. If I were forced to guess, I would say that Pete made that decision. Which, of course, just makes me more interested in the congressman’s ongoing relationship with the gaming industry in Nevada.

  13. Doug in DFW says:

    Re: How is what Lederer et al. doing any different than any other group of folks who have a shared interest on an issue of Federal legislation?

    That wasn’t the question. The question is why Pete can’t raise money with home-grown “dancers” rather than out-of-state talent.

    I now see that Strip Club Pete’s real problem with Janet Jackson’s nipple was that the common man got a peek for free. Well played, Sessions.

  14. BJ says:

    Wick: I stand corrected.

    Let’s not limit this to the gaming industry in Nevada, remember Peter stated on the floor of the House that ‘Oil companies are our friends.’

    In actuality, the big oil companies are Peter’s friends. Look at where the majority of his campaign money comes from.

    He is a carpet bagger Congressman who ran against Sam Johnson in 1991, swithched from CD 5 to CD 32 so he could get closer to the big money in Highland Park and Preston Hollow. Then this spring Peter allowed his picture to be plastered all over political material for Gene Christiansen (big money NASCAR guy) who allegedly used money from a charity to fund his campaign against Ralph Hall.

    Did you notice that one of Christiansen’s attorney’s is one of Peter’s relatives?

    Follow the money Wick, follow the money!

    Like I said before, I am walk’n and talk’n for Pauken as a write in Candidate.

  15. Harriet Miers says:

    I’d shake my sags for the Petester if he could find me a bunker to hide in for a few months.

  16. Citizen Texas says:

    Where is the accountability? Where is the oversite? What about Public Service? Does that mean nothing anymore? Down with PACs! Just say no to Tom Delay Jr.

  17. Michael says:

    Sessions will be precinct walking in Irving tomorrow. Encourage all your friends in Irving to ask him about his questionable ties to Las Vegas gambling interests and the Jack Abramoff-Native American tribe corruption scandal.

  18. Yeah, let’s not forget that the UIGEA was a TERRIBLE piece of legislation. The very last thing passed by the 2006 Congress … attached to a Port Security bill. Regardless of your position on personal freedoms to do what you want on the internet, the law now requires banks to serve as internet police … even though the banking industry has said they have no way of enforcing the enforcement act (without cutting off fully legal businesses).

    Supporters of the UIGEA have forgone sensible government (let’s protect the citizens by regulating an industry in a way that brings in billions of dollars in tax revenue) in favor of something that instead costs lots of money and is completely unenforceable and leaves the citizens the law is supposed to protect (children and gambling addicts) in the hands of an industry’s more unsavory elements.

    By the way, current support of the UIGEA is led by Spencer Bachus (R-AL) who claims that online poker is directly connected to child porn (100 percent not true) and that “30 percent” of all college students who have gambled online have attempted suicide.

    (The university that put out the study he quoted in committee has since come out and said Bachus completely distorted/misquoted their findings in a way that was the absolute opposite of what they were saying.)

    So should Sessions really be faulted for saying he isn’t going to play that game, regardless of his party affiliation?

  19. Pablo El Bueno says:

    Sessions is another example of the sleaze Republicans who talk talk talk about morals and values but live their lives in the gutter of fast money.