Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate behind the multi-billion dollar Las Vegas Sands, is poised to become the most powerful voice in the 2012 presidential general election with his $10 million gift to pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.
The gift by the tycoon and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, could be the start of a "limitless" funnel of cash to the Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor, reports Forbes. The business magazine reported Wednesday Adelson's total contributions could top $100 million.
Adelson previously supported former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for the GOP nomination, pumping more than $21 million into Gingrich's super PAC, Winning Our Future. Since Gingrich's exit from the contest in May, Romney has been actively courting the 78-year-old tycoon, meeting with him last month in Nevada during a campaign stop.
Adelson, who built the Sands empire and holds a personal net worth of $24.9 billion, did not confirm the contribution. It was first reported by the Wall Street Journal Wednesday and then confirmed by the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau.
One reason Adelson supported Gingrich was the former speaker's tough stance on Israeli defense and bilateral relations, something about which the tycoon feels intensely passionate. He is well-known for being hawkish on the defense of Israel and for previously criticizing Romney for being too timid on issues such as this.
Adelson has been involved in political campaigns in the past and has already given around $35 million to pro-GOP super PACs this year. But sources close to the businessman told Forbes he believes this election to be the most important of his lifetime.
"What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we've been experiencing for almost four years," Adelson told Forbes in February. "I believe that people will come to their senses and not extend the current Administration's quest to socialize this country."
The amount of money Adelson has already spent this year and the possibility of this increasing pushes him to the forefront of all bundlers, or large-scale donors, this election cycle. His $35 million given this year - plus several hundred thousand dollars worth of smaller $2,500 donations - already make his total contributions more than twice that of second-in-line bundler Harold C. Simmons, the conservative Texas billionaire, and his wife, Annette.
This could drastically effect the success of the Obama campaign come November. The president won the 2008 election largely with the help of small donations from individual donors. But since the Citizens United decision to lift campaign contribution limits to super PACs, Obama has seen his fund raising margin shrink.
Just last month, Romney and the RNC out-raised Obama and the DNC for the first time this year, announcing $78 million brought in in May, compared with the president's $60 million. The money funneled to congressional races in the 2010 midterms also helped elect a Republican-majority House, which has stymied the president on many of his legislative promises.
The effect of Adelson's contributions will not be known until the end of June, when campaign contribution laws make it necessary for Romney and Obama to disclose their monthly fund raising numbers. Even so, the full effect might not be known as donations geared toward issue-oriented ads by tax-exempt groups do not need to disclose their fund raising numbers.
by RTT Staff Writer
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