Not Just Super PACs: Shel Adelson's Many 2012 Campaign Donations

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Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson will attend the Republican National Convention next week in Tampa, Fla., reported Nevada’s Jon Ralston on Friday. His wife Miriam will have a pavilion run by the Eric Cantor-related YG Network named after her. This RNC news comes just weeks after Paul Ryan went to Las Vegas to meet with Mr. Adelson, almost immediately after being named Mitt Romney’s running mate.

Adelson, whose company faces investigations for money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and his family are top donors to Republicans this cycle.

And while he’s mostly known for donations to the super PACs of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, Adelson is not just giving at the presidential level. House and Senate candidates and committee have also benefited from his largesse. Mr. and Mrs. Adelson have given to at least 17 super PACs, candidates, and party committees, plus the PAC for his Las Vegas Sands casino so far this cycle according to Public Campaign Action Fund analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and news reports.

Here’s the list of donations from Mr. and Mrs. Adelson:

  • The couple propped up Newt Gingrich’s ailing (and eventually unsuccessful) presidential campaign by giving the “Winning Our Future” super PAC $15 million. (Originally, that amount was $20 million, but Miriam was eventually refunded $5 million).
  • The pair each donated $5 million to Restore Our Future, the main super PAC working to elect Mitt Romney. In July, they also each gave $2,500 directly to Romney’s campaign.
  • Mr. Adelson gave $1 million to Freedom PAC, an organization created to boost Rep. Connie Mack’s (R-Fla.) campaign for the U.S. Senate.
  • They’ve given $500,000 total to Patriot Prosperity PAC, a group created to assist New Jersey congressional candidate Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. They’ve each also donated $5,000 directly to his campaign.
  • The couple has donated $10,000 to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and $5,000 to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
  • They have given donations to Nevada Republicans Sen. Dean Heller ($10,000), Rep. Joe Heck ($10,000), and Rep. Mark Amodei ($5,000).
  • Florida Congressional candidate Adam Hasner (R) got $1,000 each from Mr. and Mrs. Adelson.
  • Montana Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Denny Rehberg (R) received $10,000 from the two.
  • The Republican National Committee has received $184,800 from the Adelsons, in six installments of $30,800.
  • The National Republican Congressional Committee has received $61,600, with matching $30,800 checks from the couple.
  • That NRCC donation looks like pocket change compared to what Mr. Adelson donated to super PACs working to keep a Republican majority in the House. He donated $5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC run by former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and he and Mrs. Adelson each gave $2.5 million to YG Action Fund, a super PAC with ties to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).
  • Mr. Adelson donated $250,000 in May to Conservative Renewal, a super PAC that aided Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s campaign for Senate. Dewhurst lost in a runoff.
  • They’ve each given $5,000 to the Las Vegas Sands Corp. PAC, which has donated $45,500 to federal candidates so far this cycle.

In addition to these disclosed contributions, The Huffington Post reported that Adelson has given or pledged $35 million in dollars to non-disclosing groups. The sum is reported to include $20 million to Crossroads GPS, $10 million to a group linked to the oil billionaire Koch brothers, and $5 million to the Cantor-related Young Guns Network. According to Forbes, Adelson is willing to spend "limitless" sums to help elect Romney.

In 2005, Congress was considering a resolution to condemn China’s bid for the 2008 Olympics because of its human rights record. Adelson, who has made a large portion of his money from his casino in Macau, China, called then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and asked him to quash the resolution. As the New York Times reported, “ Several hours later, Mr. DeLay called and told Mr. Adelson he was in luck. The resolution was stuck behind a series of other bills.”

Such big donations to help elect his preferred president, House, and Senate could give Adelson an unimaginable amount of access and influence in the policy and political process in 2013—a troubling thought with Adelson facing so many investigations. What will Adelson call about next time?