Adelsons set to spend tens of millions more on Republican midterm candidates

Having already given $55 million to ensure GOP retains control of Congress, casino mogul and Trump backer Sheldon Adelson and wife Miriam are continuing to pour on the cash

Casino magnate Sheldon G. Adelson, left, (Steve Mack/Getty Images, via JTA) and US President Donald Trump, right. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
Casino magnate Sheldon G. Adelson, left, (Steve Mack/Getty Images, via JTA) and US President Donald Trump, right. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Casino mogul and 85-year-old Jewish megadonor Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, already listed as the biggest donors of the 2018 midterm election cycle after donating $55 million to Republican Congressional campaigns, are set to give an unspecified “tens of millions of dollars more” to key Republican campaign groups, Politico reported on Thursday.

The new funding is part of “an 11th-hour push to save [Republicans’] congressional majorities,” Politico said, citing “two senior Republicans familiar with the donation.”

The new donations went to two so-called “super PACs” that are helping to fund Congressional campaigns around the US, the Senate Leadership Fund, which has close ties to Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, and which previously received $25 million from the Adelsons, and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC allied with House Speaker Paul Ryan that got $30 million from the Adelsons in past contributions.

The exact amount of the new donations is expected to become public when the Federal Election Commission publishes new filings on October 15, the magazine reported.

Though he currently leads the megadonor pack in total contributions to midterm political campaigns, Adelson may soon face a challenge for the top spot from billionaire and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has vowed to spend $80 million in the campaign’s last weeks to help Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives.

In September, The New York Times reported on the Adelsons’ first round of donations totaling $55 million, saying it made them the “biggest spenders on federal elections in all of American politics.”

The couple is 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 cited more than a dozen people who know the Adelsons who were interviewed for the article and said that Sheldon Adelson’s relationship with US 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.”

Sheldon Adelson with his wife Miriam at the ceremony for a new Faculty of Medicine at Ariel University in the West Bank, on August 19, 2018. (Ben Dori/Flash90)

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

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 late September of that year, showing a clear upward trend in the couple’s political largesse.

Adelson, a major donor to Jewish and pro-Israel causes, was also among the biggest givers to Trump’s 2016 presidential 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 Times reported. They have not ruled out such support, however, according to the article, citing an unnamed source briefed on the meeting.

Chairman and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation Sheldon Adelson, center, and his wife Miriam arrive ahead of the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018. (AFP/Menahem Kahana)

The Adelsons, strong supporters in the past of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, were seated in the front row for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new US 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.

JTA contributed to this report.

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