NJ Attorney General Sues DOJ For Failure To Respond To FOIA Request Regarding The Recent Wire Act Interpretation

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal filed suit on May 7, 2019 against the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) for its failure to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request filed on February 5, 2019. The request sought documents relating to Sheldon Adelson’s lobbying efforts regarding the recent DOJ interpretation of the Wire Act. Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp., has lobbied for many years to stop Internet gambling to protect land-based casinos and prevent gambling addiction.

Attorney General Grewal stated in the complaint that New Jersey requested an expedited response from the DOJ as the new Wire Act interpretation was to take effect on June 14, 2019. Per DOJ guidelines, expedited responses should be addressed within 20 days. Although the DOJ confirmed receipt of the request and granted the expedited request, as of May 7, New Jersey has not received any records or any reason for such withholding.

“Online gaming is an important part of New Jersey’s economy, and the residents of New Jersey deserve to know why the Justice Department is threatening to come after an industry we legalized years ago,” said Attorney General Grewal in a news release about the lawsuit. “It’s especially important that we figure out whether this federal crackdown is the result of a lobbying campaign by a single individual seeking to protect his personal business interests.”

The complaint requests the DOJ produce by a certain date any and all nonexempt response records and requests an award of attorneys’ fees and other litigation costs related to this action.

If you have questions regarding the Wire Act, please contact authors Karl Rutledge at krutledge@lrrc.com, Glenn Light at glight@lrrc.com, or Mary Tran at mtran@lrrc.com.