Sheldon Adelson Spent Far More On Campaign Than Previously Known

Sheldon Adelson Spent Far More On Campaign Than Previously Known


Now after what was largely a disappointing election for Adelson, his Las Vegas Sands casino empire could be facing heightened legal and political headaches. His sprawling operations are still mired in two wide-ranging federal criminal probes.


by Peter H. Stone 

GOP donor and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson AP Photo/Kin Cheung

Huffington Post – Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson vowed to spend as much as $100 million to defeat President Barack Obama and help the GOP take control of Congress. According to two GOP fundraisers with close ties to the Las Vegas billionaire, he made good on that promise — and then some. Adelson ultimately upped the ante, spending closer to a previously unreported $150 million, the fundraisers said.

Adelson, a fierce critic of Obama’s foreign and domestic policies, has said that his humongous spending was spurred chiefly by his fear that a second Obama term would bring "vilification of people that were against him." As that second term begins, Adelson's international casino empire faces a rough road, with two federal criminal investigations into his business.

This coming week, Adelson plans to visit Washington, according to three separate GOP sources familiar with his travel schedule. While here, he’s arranged Hill meetings with at least one House GOP leader in which he is expected to discuss key issues, including possible changes to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the anti-bribery law that undergirds one federal probe into his casino network, according to a Republican attorney with knowledge of his plans.

During the election, Adelson told Politico that the Justice Department investigation, and the way he felt treated by prosecutors, was a primary motivation for his investment in Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and other GOP candidates. He put his money where his mouth was. The two GOP fundraisers, both with strong ties to Adelson, said that the casino mogul dished out close to $150 million, including between $30 million and $40 million to the Karl Rove-founded Crossroads GPS and at least $15 million to grassroots efforts with financial links to Charles and David Koch. Among other major beneficiaries of Adelson’s largess were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which received almost $5 million from Adelson, and the Republican Jewish Coalition, which got the bulk of its $6.5 million budget from him, the fundraisers said.

All of these are non-profit groups, which — unlike the super PACs that raked in $54 million in funds from Adelson and his wife — are not currently required to disclose their donors. Adelson’s public spending spree, larger than any other donor's in the last election, was made possible by two high court rulings in early 2010 that allowed corporations, unions and individuals to write unlimited checks to outside groups for political ads and other activities backing candidates

The two fundraisers who provided information to The Huffington Post represented separate groups that each received seven-figure checks this year from Adelson. The fundraisers learned details of Adelson’s spending plans about a month prior to the election: one heard of them in a talk with the casino owner himself, while the other didn’t indicate if his information came from Adelson or a top aide to the billionaire. Both requested anonymity to protect their ties to Adelson and because they were not authorized to speak publicly about his giving.

Adelson’s hefty support for Rove’s GPS made sense, said a third fundraiser who knows both men, because of their long-standing links. Adelson forged good ties with Rove after he served as deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush and this year they bonded further. Rove spent much of the last night of the Republican National Convention hanging out in a skybox suite with Adelson and other politicos and friends, and Rove also provided the casino mogul occasional advice on potential donations — at least once undercutting another group seeking Adelson funding, said the two GOP fundraisers.

Rove, who also provided advice in 2008 to the Adelson-backed dark money group Freedom’s Watch, was just one of several GOP politicos with shadow party links that Adelson schmoozed and brainstormed with in Tampa. Long known as a hands-on donor who likes to immerse himself in details, Adelson had a crowded convention schedule. For instance, he spent time one afternoon meeting with leaders of several groups that he’d either already helped, or was considering writing more big checks to for their electoral drives.

Among the political heavies Adelson met with that afternoon were Sean Noble, a leading operative for the Koch brothers, and Carl Forti, a key political strategist for both Crossroads GPS and its affiliate American Crossroads. Forti is also a strategist for pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future, which received $20 million from Adelson and his wife Miriam, an Israeli-born doctor.

Earlier in the year, Adelson indicated at different times that he planned to spend about $100 million or “as much as it takes” to defeat Obama and help Republicans in Congressional races. Adelson’s personal wealth has been pegged at $20.5 billion by Forbes, making him one of the world’s richest men and enabling him to open his checkbook wide without worrying much about his bottom line.

Adelson’s largess appeared to have an impact on Romney’s campaign strategy. After Adelson publicly suggested that Romney sometimes waffled in his stances and wasn’t as ideologically consistent as his original pick, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, he and Romney met in late May in Las Vegas. Shortly afterwards, the casino owner’s first $10 million donation to Romney’s allied super PAC arrived.

Not long after their meeting, Romney restated his support for one of Adelson’s top priorities — his fervent backing of Israel’s conservative government and his opposition to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Romney’s first foreign trip after his meeting with Adelson included a late July visit to Israel, which included a Jerusalem fundraiser that Adelson famously attended.

Now after what was largely a disappointing election for Adelson, his Las Vegas Sands casino empire could be facing heightened legal and political headaches. His sprawling operations are still mired in two wide-ranging federal criminal probes. Neither probe is said to be focused on Adelson’s conduct.

The Sands did not return several phone calls seeking comment for this piece.

In one inquiry, federal officials are looking into potential money laundering by two shady high rollers at his Las Vegas casinos. Settlement talks with Justice officials were under way in late October, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The money laundering investigation, led by the U.S. attorney for Los Angeles, is probing whether the casino broke the law by failing to report to the government millions of dollars of potentially laundered funds that two gamblers transferred to its casinos.

One of the two gamblers, Ausaf Umar Siddiqui, is being probed about over $100 million of his transactions through the casinos. Separately, he was arrested in 2009 and pleaded guilty to accepting illegal kickbacks in his job as an executive with Fry’s Electronics in California. He is now serving a six-year jail term.

The other big gambler in the probe is Zhenil Ye Gon, a Chinese-born Mexican-based businessman, who reportedly transferred $85 million to Sands casinos several years ago. Ye Gon was indicted in 2007 for dealing in illegal drugs, but the charges were dismissed in 2009.

Meanwhile, another inquiry by Justice and the SEC has been under way for about two years. It involves allegations that Adelson’s lucrative casinos on the Chinese island of Macau may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to Chinese officials to expand its operations there. The lion’s share of Sands' corporate revenues now come from Macau, the only place in China where casino gambling is legal, and a Singapore casino.

Among the payments that Justice has been probing are $700,000 that went to a local attorney, Leonel Alves, who was hired by the Sands Chinese subsidiary while he was a government legislator in Macau. The Justice probe apparently grew out of a wrongful termination lawsuit by Steven Jacobs, the former president of the Sands operation in Macau who has been cooperating with Justice.

Jacobs' suit alleged that he was fired after numerous clashes with Adelson over "Adelson’s illegal demands." Adelson has flatly rejected Jacobs’ allegations and has said that "none of what he says is true and he can't prove it."

A Sands spokesman has said repeatedly that the company has been cooperating with Justice and has done nothing wrong.

Ryan Grim contributed reporting

Source: Council for the National Interest

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  1. The one pleasing thing about this article is the identification of the amount of money wasted by Adelson on such a futile cause as Romney.


    Let us also trust that the confidence shown by the voters in Obama, just one of the two alternatives available to the people, sadly, will allow him to become something he wasn't in his first term, that is, decisive, progressive, realistic and as a result show some real strength in relation to  making the US what it once was by ignoring the likes of Adelson, the Israeli lobby, the NRA and similar pressure groups and look at the world as being ready for peace with a commencement of initial talks with the likes of Iran.  


    None of those items would be of the slightest interest to the Adelsons of this world and his cabal of big spenders for the Republican party, nor of particular interest to anyone in the Republican party itself. That seems to be the way it is in 2012. Rather, we see the likes of Adelson, AIPAC, NRA, Weider Publications and the like, solely interested in wars, protecting the gambling industries, the interests of  Zionists and through them the state of Israel, continuing the ability to commit murder with unlimited weapon access and other questionable pursuits.   Where are the values such as education, safety, healthcare and freedom from hunger among the priorities?.   A past era, a long time ago.    

    • Politicos need to watch out or change quickly.


      Excerpted from a post at the The Passionate Attachment blog, written by Maidhc O’ Cathail :

      “So, what is it then that motivates the ADL’s advocacy of gun control? In a piece written last year entitled “Adam, Get Their Guns,” I suggested the following answer:

      Could it be that Israel’s fifth columnists are worried that if enough Americans ever become aware of how much their “unbreakable bond” with Israel has cost them in blood, treasure and credibility, they might have an American Intifada on their hands?

      To that, I would now add that the Second Amendment may be the last remaining obstacle to the imposition of a full-blown Israeli-inspired “Homeland Security” police state on the American people. And given the Israel lobby’s decisive influence over U.S. foreign policy, the rest of the “free world” too is already well on its way to this fascist New World Order.”


  2. Seeing this video of Adelson and his love for Israel, obviously to an Israeli / part time American audience (I think that I have that priority right), one has to ask why he is still allowed to operate in the US, to make his money out of US citizens to donate to causes that are not in any way in the interests of the United States.  


    When the Constitution gets changes to reflect the things needed to be done to improve the safety and well-being of the average loyal American citizen, perhaps Adelson should be the first to be investigated.


    In the meantime, however,  we may see someone with some  real American  ideals, as in the past,  take up the cause of being a "sniper", as suggested by Adelson himself and therefore save us all  the bother.

  3. I usually don't use foul language but what an ass hole.  Look no further than this loser for answers as to what is happening to this country.  It is becaue of morons like him who think he can buy his way out getting in trouble with the law.  


    Meanwhile they did everything their dirty money could do to discredit Ron Paul.   I hope the GOP is happy and they deserve everything they get. Ron Paul was beating Obama in the polls and I think he would have beaten Obama, but because of assholes like this guy who thinks they never do wrong because they have a business model.   I hope this guy rots in hell with all his precious money.  


    Wake up folks it is because of clowns like this guy America is both morally and financially bankrupt.   Stop giving into greed and do what is right.  Especially congress and the senate.  Stop being bought off by assholes like this loser. 

  4. Why sanctions on Palestinians and Iran and NOT Israel? A wake-up call for Americans…


    *IRAN SANCTIONS ACT of 1996 Sponsor: Ileana Ross-Lehtinen (Jewish)

    *S.Res. 185, Sponsor: Sen. Ben Cardin (Jewish) states that if the Palestinian Authority goes ahead with its plan to seek unilateral recognition as a state, the US would suspend its financial aid.

    *H.Res. 268, Sponsor: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Jewish) The resolution called upon the administration to announce that it would “veto any resolution on Palestinian statehood that comes before the United Nations Security Council.

    *H.Res. 4133, Sponsor: Eric Cantor (Jewish) United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012

    *H.RES.568, Sponsor: Ileana Ross-Lehtinen (Jewish) preventing the Government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

    *H.R. 2194, Sponsor: Howard Berman (Jewish) Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010

    *H.R. 1905, Sponsor: Ileana Ross-Lehtinen (Jewish) Howard Berman (J e w) will place virtually all of Iran’s energy, financial, and transportation sectors under U.S. sanction. Companies conducting business with Iran in these sectors face losing access to U.S. markets; impose sanctions designed to prevent Iran from repatriating any proceeds from its oil sales, thus depriving Iran of 80 percent of its hard currency earnings and half of the funds to support its national budget; impose tough new sanctions on the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC); target Iran’s use of barter transactions to bypass sanctions, the provision of insurance to Iran’s energy sector, and the provision of specialized financial messaging services to the Central Bank of Iran.

    *Steve Simon (Jewish) National Security Council Middle East Desk

    *Dan Shapiro (Jewish) former Head of Middle East Desk at the National Security Council now ambassador to Israel

    *Robert Einhorn (Jewish) Special Advisor for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control

    *Dennis Ross (Jewish) Special Advisor for the Gulf (Iran) and Southwest Asia to the Secretary of State

    *Colin Kahl(Jewish) Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East (Current National Security Advisor)

    *James N. Miller(Jewish) Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

    *Lee Feinstein (Jewish) Foreign Policy Advisor

    *Mara Rudman (Jewish) Foreign Policy Advisor

    *Eric Lynn (Jewish) Middle East Policy Advisor

    *William Burns (Jewish) Current Deputy Secretary of State

    *James B. Steinberg (Jewish) Former Deputy Secretary of State

    *Stuart Levey (Jewish) Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence

    *David Cohen (Jewish) Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence


    *The Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs headed by Assistant Secretary Jeffrey Feltman (Jewish),deals with U.S. foreign policy and U.S. diplomatic relations with Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt,Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Regional policy issues that NEA handles include Iraq, Middle East peace, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and political and economic reform.


    *Hannah Rosenthal (Jewish) State Dept Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism

    *Cass Sunstein (Jewish) Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration

    *Wendy Sherman (Jewish) Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs

    *Victoria Nuland (Jewish) (career Foreign Service officer) and spokesperson for the United States Department of State. (and married to Jewish neocon Robert Kagan co-founder of PNAC the ideological manifesto for the Iraq war)

    *Diane Feinstein (Jewish) Chairwoman Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

    *Michael Ratney (Jewish) U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem

    *Daniel Rubinstein (Jewish), former Consul General Jerusalem

    *Michael Chertoff (Jewish) former Homeland Security chief

    *Daniel Benjamin (Jewish) head of the State Department’s Bureau of Counter-Terrorism

    *Ronald Klain (Jewish) Former Biden Chief of Staff

    *Rahm Emanuel (Jewish) former Obama chief of staff and former Israeli Defense Force soldier

    *Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Jewish) Democratic National Committee Chairman

    *David Axelrod (Jewish) ran the Obama re-election campaign



    (This is only a very partial list. Do the arithmetic yourself)