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Frank criticizes agencies UIGEA haste
WASHINGTON (11/11/08)-- House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said the Bush administration is proceeding with “unseemly haste” in its efforts to implement the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA). In a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, Frank reiterated his call to delay implementation of what he called “deeply flawed” UIGEA rules. In September, Frank’s committee approved the Payment System Protection Act (H.R. 6870), a bill that would place a moratorium on the implementation of UIGEA, as proposed by Treasury and the Fed. Those agencies are statutorily assigned that responsibility. In separate letters to each agency head, Frank wrote, “This midnight rulemaking will tie the hands of the new administration, burden the financial services industry at a time of economic crisis, and contradict the stated intent of the Financial Services Committee.” Frank wrote that the proposed regulations, “like the underlying UIGEA statute,” are deeply flawed. Under the Internet gambling law, financial institutions must establish and implement policies and procedures to identify and block restricted transactions, or rely on those established by the payments system. Frank and other critics complain that the proposal fails to define the term “unlawful internet gambling,” leaving each financial institution to reconcile conflicting state and federal laws, court decisions and inconsistent Department of Justice interpretations when determining whether to process a transaction. “I strongly urge you to delay implementation of these major, and deeply flawed regulations to permit the incoming (Obama) administration the ability to review the consequences of such a significant policy decision, rather than unfairly being denied that opportunity. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has voiced concerns that the provisions of the law could swamp credit unions and other financial institutions with compliance burdens. CUNA also opposes the agencies’ draft implementation of the law, saying it lacks clarity and sufficient definition of terms.


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