According to a Bloomberg News report, three U.S. House Republicans are objecting to what they call a “secretive, closed-door, undemocratic” effort in the Senate to pass legislation that would legalize and tax some online gambling before Congress adjourns this year.

Barney Frank has been the leading voice on efforts to legalize the activity.  A bill he authored passed a House Subcommittee over the summer but had gotten bogged down due to more pressing issues, including the Elections campaign process.

Representatives Spencer Bachus, an ardent opponent for legalized online gambling, Dave Camp and Lamar Smith are the three representatives opposed to efforts that would have Frank’s bill attached to “must have” legislation likely to pass during the lame duck session of Congress.

Similar tactics were used to pass Internet gambling prohibition (Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act) in October 2006 after that legislation was tacked onto a critical Port Security bill that ultimately sailed through both the House and Senate.

“Creating a federal right to gamble that has never existed in our country’s history and imposing an unprecedented new tax regime on such activity require careful deliberation, not back- room deals,” the lawmakers said in a Dec. 1 letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Frank’s law would only apply to legalizing and licensing online poker businesses.

We also are concerned that this new rush to embrace Internet casino gambling might be partially motivated by one of the gravest sins that afflicts this Congress: desperation for more tax dollars to pay for ever-increasing federal spending,” the lawmakers said in the letter. “Congress should not take advantage of the young, the weak and the vulnerable in the name of new revenues.”

Approving such controversial legislation by attaching it to another bill would be “a secretive, closed-door, undemocratic process,” they said.

The three House opponents are in line to be chairmen of the Financial Services Committee.

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