Sheldon Adelson 'Spending at Least $55m' to Keep Republican Control of Congress

Casino billionaire's total contributions to various Republican causes surpass $100 million, according to the New York Times, possibly making him the largest single donor in American politics today

Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., speaks during a keynote presentation session in Tokyo, Japan, February 21, 2017.
Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

WASHINGTON - Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson is reportedly spending at least $55 million during the upcoming midterm elections in order to keep Republicans in control of Congress. Adelson’s spending commitment was first reported on Saturday by the New York Times, in an article describing how Adelson has become the most influential donor in the Republican Party during U.S. President Donald Trump’s time in office.

According to the report, Adelson’s total spending on behalf of the Republicans in the 2016 and 2018 election combined, will surpass $100 million, probably making him the largest single donor in American politics today. Adelson had previously spent tens of millions of dollars during the 2012 election in a failed attempt to help Mitt Romney, that year’s Republican nominee, oust Barack Obama from the White House.

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Adelson, according to the NYT report, has enjoyed a “direct line to the President” since Trump entered the White House. The report also stated that Adelson “has used his access to push the president to move the United States embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and, more recently, cut aid to the Palestinians.” Adelson and Trump speak at least once a month, the report said.

During the Republican primaries in 2015, Trump mocked one his rivals, Senator Marco Rubio, for being a “puppet” of Adelson, who at the time was rumored to prefer the Floridian legislator over Trump. Back then, Trump wrote on his Twitter account that “Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!”

Yet in the final months of the 2016 election, after Trump had secured the Republican nomination and was trailing in the polls to Hillary Clinton, Adelson’s support was critical for Trump. The NYT report stated that Trump “badly needed” Adelson’s money because “many of the [Republican] party’s other major donors had shunned him.”

Adelson owns the Israeli free newspaper “Israel Hayom,” which Israel’s Defense Minister and Education Minister have both publicly compared to “Pravda”, the famous Soviet newspaper that was a mouthpiece for the Communist party. The comparison was made because of how “Israel Hayom” is seen by many Israelis as a mouthpiece for Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Last year, Netanyahu’s office was forced by the Israeli Supreme Court to provide details about the Prime Minister’s frequent communications with the top editors of the newspaper.

Adelson is a supporter of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In 2014, during a discussion on whether the settlements endanger Israeli democracy, Adelson said - “I don’t think the Bible says anything about democracy … God talked about all the good things in life. … He didn’t talk about Israel remaining as a democratic state. Israel isn’t going to be a democratic state — so what?” Adelson later claimed the remark was sarcastic.