Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and other conservative billionaires are pouring money into a super PAC dedicated to defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency.
New campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that Adelson and his wife Miriam together donated $10 million last month to Future 45, a group that can accept unlimited amounts of money from donors. That was a huge portion of the total $12.3 million the group raised over the past three months. Kentucky’s Joe Craft, who made his fortune in the coal industry, gave $750,000.
Adelson is a prominent donor to Jewish causes and a staunch supporter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Future 45 was founded by former TD Ameritrade chairman Joe Ricketts, who gave it $1 million. The super PAC and a related nonprofit entity — which does not disclose its donors — are spending heavily on anti-Clinton television ads in the final weeks of the presidential campaign.
Last month, the Chicago Sun Times reported that Future 45’s efforts to defeat Clinton would focus on taking shots at her rather than promoting the Republican nominee for president.
The London-based Guardian newspaper also reported at the time that Adelson planned to donate as much as $25 million to Future 45, citing an unnamed donor briefed on the PAC’s fundraising.
Some $5 million of the total sum, to go toward anti-Clinton ads, was reported previously by CNN. The other $20 million appeared to be a new commitment.
CNN also reported last month that Adelson would give $20 million each to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC supporting GOP candidates, and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a similar super PAC supporting GOP candidates for the House of Representatives.
In May, Adelson bucked a substantial number of Republican Jews who opposed Trump, even though by that time it was clear he would be the party’s presidential nominee. Adelson endorsed the pugnacious real estate magnate and reality TV star and appealed to other top Republican Jewish donors to follow suit.
The New York Times reported at the time that Adelson was prepared to spend up to $100 million to elect Trump.
Yet for all that support, pro-Clinton groups have attracted at least twice as many six-figure donors and more than four times as much money as Donald Trump, according to FEC filings.
A joint fundraising account for Clinton and Democratic Party groups saw 317 who gave at least $100,000 between July and September, while a joint fundraising account for Trump and Republican Party groups counted 158 over those same three months.
Both presidential candidates use “victory” funds to enable generous donors to far exceed the $2,700 per-donor, per-election limit for direct campaign contributions. The large donations are parceled out to the campaign, national party committees and state party groups.
Overall, the Hillary Victory Fund raised $261 million in the three-month time period while Trump Victory raised $61 million. The unconventional Republican nominee has struggled to raise money from the kinds of traditional donors who write the biggest campaign checks.
Clinton has another joint fund for big donors, while Trump has another account for his campaign and the party that’s aimed at small donors.