Adelsons become the 'biggest spenders' after $55 m donation to GOP races

The couple are very involved in how their money is being spent, meeting with the consultants and political strategists at Adelson’s office in Las Vegas.

September 25, 2018 10:45
2 minute read.
Sheldon and Miriam Adelson at the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson at the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. (photo credit: MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)


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Casino mogul and Jewish megadonor Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have given $55 million in the last few months to groups working to ensure Republican control of the House and Senate after the midterm elections.

The donations make them the “biggest spenders on federal elections in all of American politics,” The New York Times reported Saturday, citing publicly available campaign finance data.

The couple are very involved in how their money is being spent, meeting with the consultants and political strategists at Adelson’s office in Las Vegas, the newspaper reported. They ask pointed questions and demand campaign plans, preferably in writing, according to the report.

The article noted more than a dozen people who know the Adelsons who were interviewed for the article say that Sheldon Adelson’s relationship with President Donald Trump is not about personal affinity but based on a “mutual appreciation for something both men have built their careers on: the transaction.”

The Adelsons declined to be interviewed for The New York Times article.

The Adelsons have given much of the money to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC allied with House Speaker Paul Ryan, and the Senate Leadership Fund, which has close ties to Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader.

In the 2014 midterm elections, when Republicans were in a much stronger political position nationally, the Adelsons donated $382,000 to federal campaigns and gave $5.5 million to election efforts overall. In the 2016 election, they donated $46.5 million by this point in the election cycle.

Adelson, a major giver to Jewish and pro-Israel causes, was among the biggest givers to President Donald Trump’s campaign and his inauguration.

The couple has not yet given to Trump’s reelection efforts, though representatives from America First Policies, the super PAC that currently is handling Trump’s 2020 reelection effort, recently made a pitch to the Adelsons for financial support with a strategic plan that the Adelsons called “too vague and unformed,” the newspaper reported. They have not ruled out such support, however, according to the article, citing an unnamed source briefed on the meeting.

The Adelsons, strong supporters in the past of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, were seated in the front row for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem in May, the newspaper noted. The embassy moves and other recent decisions of Trump’s regarding Israel have been in line with the Adelsons’ worldview, according to The Times.

“Mr. Trump respects Mr. Adelson’s success as a global casino, convention and hotel mogul — businesses that the president has bought into on a smaller scale. And Mr. Adelson has long demonstrated the kind of bare-knuckles business approach that Mr. Trump identifies with,” according to the article.

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