News Column

Adelson Put Millions Into Effort to Oust Dems

Dec. 7, 2012

Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY

Billionaire casino executive Sheldon Adelson, the biggest political donor of the 2012 elections, continued to pump millions of dollars into unsuccessful efforts to elect Republicans to the White House and Congress in the campaign's waning days, reports filed Thursday show.

On Oct 19, Adelson and his wife, Miriam, donated $10 million to Restore Our Future, a super PAC aiding Republican Mitt Romney's campaign. That day, the Las Vegas Sands CEO also pumped $1 million into a last-minute bid to unseat Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, according to the group's filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Adelson's donation accounted for more than 80% of the money that flowed to the Hardworking Americans Committee, which blasted Stabenow with television commercials in the final weeks of the campaign. Stabenow went on to trounce Republican Pete Hoekstra on Election Day, winning the state by more than 20 percentage points. The committee also funded more than $140,000 in telephone calls to try to turn out voters for Romney in Michigan.

The committee was among dozens of outside political groups that scrambled to shape presidential and congressional races in the final weeks before the elections but were not required to disclose their donors until Thursday - the day post-election reports were due to the Federal Election Commission.

The flurry of filings highlight Adelson's 11th-hour involvement in other congressional contests. He donated $2.5 million in the final weeks of the elections to a super PAC attacking Democrat Tim Kaine, Virginia's former governor. Kaine won Virginia's U.S. Senate race.

In all, Adelson and his wife gave more than $68 million to super PACs in the 2012 elections, according to reports filed through Thursday evening.

In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Adelson said he intended to increase his political spending in the future, despite Republican losses.

The Las Vegas-based mogul visited Washington this week, making stops on Capitol Hill to visit with Republican congressional leaders and party officials. The main purpose of the trip was to accompany his wife, who attended meetings related to her role at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, Adelson spokesman Ron Reese said.

Miriam Adelson was named to the museum's council in 2007 by President George W. Bush.

Reese declined to discuss details of Adelson's schedule and would not comment on his last-minute political spending.

The final election reports to the FEC also show:

Restore Our Future spent about $45.5 million in the final weeks of the campaign. In addition to the Adelsons, other late donors included Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who donated $3 million in late October, and former Price is Right host Bob Barker, who gave $174,200. Pittsburgh billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, a newspaper publisher and longtime donor to conservative causes, donated more than $400,000 in October.

Contributing: Christopher Schnaars

(c) Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.

Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2012

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