Washington, D.C.— As Paul Ryan, the new Republican vice-presidential running mate for Mitt Romney appears in Las Vegas for a fundraiser at Sheldon Adelson’s Venetian casino today, campaign finance watchdog Public Campaign Action Fund asks: Would a Vice President Paul Ryan take Shel Adelson’s phone call and carry out Adelson’s wishes like Tom Delay did?
According to a report in today’s New York Times, Adelson called then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay and asked him to scuttle a resolution condemning China for its human rights record ahead of the country's bid to host the 2008 Olympics.
“If a Vice President Paul Ryan receives calls from a billionaire casino mogul facing federal investigators and a senior citizen worried about what’ll happen to her Medicare, which call do you think he’ll take? You get one guess,” said David Donnelly, executive director of Public Campaign Action Fund. “It should be no mystery why a gambling tycoon whose company faces numerous federal investigations for allegedly bribing foreign officials is willing to pour a hundred million dollars into the elections: Does Adelson want the investigations swept under the rug? Does he trust the new Romney-Ryan ticket to do just that?”
According to the Times story, “Chinese leaders at the time were worried about a pending House resolution condemning the country’s bid for the 2008 Olympic Games because of its human rights record. According to Mr. Weidner’s deposition in the Suen case, Mr. Adelson promised Beijing’s mayor he would do what he could. Mr. Adelson called his friend Tom DeLay, then the House majority whip, catching him at a Fourth of July barbecue. Mr. DeLay said he would check on the bill’s status. Several hours later, Mr. DeLay called and told Mr. Adelson he was in luck. The resolution was stuck behind a series of other bills.”
For months, reports have focused on the several investigations into Adelson’s casino operations, including possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and ties to the Chinese mob.
Adelson and his wife have donated $10 million to the Romney-aligned super PAC, were invited to attend his Jerusalem fundraiser, and held a private meeting with the Republican presidential candidate. According to Forbes, Adelson is willing to spend "limitless" sums to help elect Romney.
“Paul Ryan should disclose to the press what he and Adelson talked about,” said Donnelly. “The American people deserve to know what big donors are asking in return for their investment. Though, in this case, it’s very clear that the biggest thing Romney and Ryan can do for Adelson, if elected, is make the investigations go away.”