PPA discloses 2007 lobbying totals

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The Poker Players Alliance spent $900,000 lobbying to explicitly legalize online poker in 2007, according to disclosure forms released by the U.S. Senate this week and published at OpenSecrets.org.

The PPA's 2007 lobbying total of $900,000 was up from $540,000 in 2006. In 2005, the first year of its existence, the PPA spent $260,000 on lobbying.

The non-profit PPA, which was founded in 2005, used the money to hire five Washington, D.C. lobbying firms in the hopes of influencing congressional opinion on legislation related to online poker.

Among the bills the PPA supports are Rep. Barney Frank's Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act (H.R. 2046), Rep. Jim McDermott's Internet Gambling Regulation and Tax Enforcement Act (H.R. 2607), Rep. Robert Wexler's Skill Game Protection Act (H.R. 2610) and Rep. Shelly Berkley's Internet Gambling Study Act (H.R. 2140).

Ogilvy Government Relations was the biggest recipient of PPA funds in 2007, with reported contract expenses of $480,000. The firm's Web site says Ogilvy "was founded on the principle that intelligence, experience, hard work and dedication can solve virtually any problem in Washington."

Other firms named in the PPA's disclosure forms include Patton Boggs LLP ($180,000), Park Strategies ($160,000), Barnes & Thornburg ($60,000) and Mattox Woolfolk LLC ($60,000). Park Strategies was founded in 1999 by PPA Chairman Alfonse D'Amato.

There is some evidence that efforts on behalf of the PPA such as Ogilvy's are beginning to pay dividends. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee, recently signed on as a co-sponsor of the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act, bringing the total number of co-sponsors for Rep. Frank's bill to 46.

That good news appears to have bolstered spirits at the PPA. Director John Pappas recently told PokerListings.com that "it's not a question of if it will happen; it is only a question of when it will occur. It's a political impossibility to ignore the realities, that we need a regulated industry to protect the players and the game itself."

The OpenSecrets.org report on the PPA's lobbying expenditures is available here. More information on the Poker Players Alliance, including links to the full text and tracking of all the bills it supports, can be found at the PPA Web site.

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