Charts: $35 Million Is Chump Change—If You're Sheldon Adelson
In April, casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson told political reporter Jon Ralston that "I'm going to give one more small donation—you might not think it's that small—to a super-PAC." Sure enough, the Las Vegas billionaire reportedly just gave $10 million to the pro-Romney super-PAC Restore Our Future. That's on top of another $25 million given to conservative super-PACs by Adelson and his wife, cementing their status as the most massive megadonors of 2012.
The Adelsons aren't new to the world of outsized political contributions. But their spending in the past few months has exceeded their entire reported political spending between 1992 and 2010, which totalled $27.6 million and included $17 million to the short-lived Freedom's Watch (billed as the conservative answer to MoveOn.org in the 2008 election).
Beyond his super-PAC donations, Adelson is ready to spend as much as $100 million this year, the Wall Street Journal reports. (Much of his upcoming donations may go to dark-money groups, in which case they won't have to be disclosed.) Don't worry, he won't feel a thing: As of March, Adelson was worth nearly 250 times that—$24.9 billion.
For another perspective on just how loaded Adelson is, consider how his net worth stacks up to the typical American family's:
The Adelsons are hardly the only ones taking advantage of the post-Citizens-United free-for-all. But they are blowing all other donors away: Their spending exceeds that of the next six biggest donors. (So far, most major donors are also supporting conservative super-PACs, which are outspending their liberal counterparts by a factor of 7 to 1.)