Governor-elect Doug Ducey's recent announcement that former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl will chair his transition committee offers a delicious mix of irony and hypocrisy.
See, while he was in the Senate, Kyl was known for his fervent opposition to all forms of Internet gambling. More than once during his 18 years as a Senator, he attempted to legislate a total ban on the virtual vice.
And yet, Kyl's proven an enthusiastic supporter of Ducey, the scion of an infamous Toledo, Ohio organized crime family named "Scott," which for decades was involved in illegal gambling, bookmaking, racketeering and other illicit activities.
In fact, Ducey's maternal uncle Billy Scott was an online gambling kingpin, who pleaded guilty in 2012 in federal court to international money laundering and violating the U.S. Wire Act.
As a result, Scott forfeited $7 million in frozen assets and was sentenced to three years supervised probation. He had spent more than a decade evading U.S. justice on the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda, where he ran his Internet gambling empire World Wide Tele-Sports.
For Kyl to overlook Ducey's notorious uncle would require some serious denial, particularly since Kyl often has assailed Internet gambling as being on par with illicit drug use and moral rot.
See also: -Special Report: Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate Doug Ducey Hails From an Infamous Ohio Organized-Crime Family -Doug Ducey's Biological Dad Did Business with Mobbed-Up Side of Family, Records Show
For example, during a 1999 hearing before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Government Information, Kyl pimped a ban on Internet gambling, compared virtual casinos to cocaine, and asserted that online wagering "is apt to lead to criminal behavior."
And in a 2003 press release from his office, the senator promoted a bill that would have applied "criminal penalties of up to five years in prison to operators of Internet gambling sites," while railing against the evils of online wagering.
"Internet gambling is not a fun diversion, but feeds a dangerous and growing addiction," Kyl said at the time. "It is linked to organized crime, rife with fraud, ruins credit ratings and allows many young people to build up thousands of dollars in debt on their parents credit cards."
Organized crime? You betcha. Enter Ducey's uncle, whom Kyl mentioned in 2006, during remarks at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, while he praised then-U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales for using the federal Wire Act to go after sports gambling on the Internet.
"I wrote to you May 18," Kyl told Gonzales, according to video of the hearing captured by C-SPAN, "complimenting [your] office for an indictment obtained against a William Scott and a Jessica Davis of Soulbury Limited and World Wide Tele-Sports, Inc. for laundering about $250 million worth of Internet gambling wages."
A U.S. Department of Justice press release from that same year announced the unsealing of indictments against Scott and Davis, then a WWTS employee, describing the pair as "fugitives."
They first were indicted in 1998 on Wire Act violations, the release stated, and then in 2005 on charges related to money laundering and conspiracy.
Soulbury Ltd. was "one of the `shell' corporations that Scott used to hide his personal profits" from WWTS, according to the statement.
Those personal profits included the $7 million that Scott forfeited when he returned to the U.S. in 2012 to plead guilty to two of the charges against him.
According to a court filing by Scott's attorney, Scott sold World Wide Tele-Sports in 2003 to an Australian company for $39 million.
Scott, who renounced his U.S. citizenship while abroad, is currently serving out the remainder of his probation in a $1.2 million home in Parkland, Florida, with his wife Susan Scott, a contributor to Ducey's 2010 campaign for state treasurer.
Court records indicate that he still owns property in the Caribbean, and plans to return there once his probation is over.
Interestingly, the Scotts live about 35 minutes away from Ducey's biological father Doug Roscoe, a former cop with the Toledo Police Department.
Roscoe served with TPD during a time when members of his wife's family (the Scotts) were being busted left and right for illegal gambling in Ohio, making the local paper in the process.
Roscoe's personnel file from his time with TPD shows that he was once in business with members of the Scott family implicated in organized crime.
But back to the 2006 hearing.
After mentioning the uncle of the man he would one day endorse for governor, Kyl praised legislation that had just passed the U.S. House, regulating how banks honored gambling debts from off-shore Internet gambling enterprises, "thus, to help put them out of business."
In September, that legislation, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, passed the Senate, and was later signed into law by President George W. Bush as part of the so-called SAFE Port Act.
The law prohibited companies from knowingly accepting payments from Internet gambling, though it contained some big exemptions, such as gambling transactions deemed legal in individual states.
But by that time, Ducey's Uncle Billy had already cashed out of the Internet gambling biz.
Is it possible that Kyl is unaware of Ducey's money-laundering uncle?
I have reached out to Kyl at his DC office. If he gets back to me, I will update this post.
One other point: During the general election campaign, the pro-Ducey forces lambasted his Democratic opponent Fred DuVal as a slick lobbyist tied to unsavory clients.
GOPers carpet-bombed the airwaves with that message, and Ducey beat that drum from day one, stating in their first debate that, DuVal had "spent his entire life as a special-interest lobbyist."
So who does Ducey appoint head of his transition team after he wins? A member of the revolving-door school of government, who after retiring from the senate took a job with the K Street lobbying firm Covington & Burling.
When reporting on Kyl's accepting the position in 2013, the Washington Post noted that, "Under ethics rules, senators cannot formally lobby Congress on someone else's behalf for two years after leaving office."
But Kyl told the Post that that he could provide Covington & Burling's clients "advice and counsel from someone who knows how government works in Washington," while waiting for the two year ban to expire.
Anyway, Kyl's situation is totally different from DuVal's career in politics and lobbying.
Well, because Kyl's a Republican. Duh.
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