Why Sheldon Adelson Spent $150 Million On the 2012 Election

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Over at HuffPo, Peter Stone reports that casino mogul Sheldon Adelson didn’t spend $100 million on this year’s election, as promised. He spent more like $150 million. Why? Well, he’s an obsessive supporter of conservative Israeli politics, and figured that Republicans were more likely to toe the Bibi Netanyahu line than Barack Obama. That much is common knowledge. But Stone says there’s more:

Adelson, a fierce critic of Obama’s foreign and domestic policies, has said that his humongous spending was spurred chiefly by his fear that a second Obama term would bring “vilification of people that were against him.” As that second term begins, Adelson’s international casino empire faces a rough road, with two federal criminal investigations into his business.

This coming week, Adelson plans to visit Washington, according to three separate GOP sources familiar with his travel schedule. While here, he’s arranged Hill meetings with at least one House GOP leader in which he is expected to discuss key issues, including possible changes to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the anti-bribery law that undergirds one federal probe into his casino network, according to a Republican attorney with knowledge of his plans.

During the election, Adelson told Politico that the Justice Department investigation, and the way he felt treated by prosecutors, was a primary motivation for his investment in Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and other GOP candidates.

Adelson may not know it, but he must be the luckiest guy in the world. Any other president might very well push the Justice Department at least a tiny little bit to punish a guy who spent so much money to turf him out of office. But Obama? Probably not. It’s not that Obama is some kind of saint or anything, but he’s about a million miles away from the business-hating, class-warring, Arab-loving, Chicago thug that conservatives have all convinced themselves he is. Adelson will probably never figure that out, since he seems like the kind of guy who considers a 4.6 percentage point increase in his tax rate a massive assault on his freedom, but he’ll benefit from it.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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