Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire gambling maven who contributed more than $20 million to the pro-Gingrich Super PAC, plans to give more money to Republican PACs during this election cycle. After that, he says, he’s going to start contributing to groups that don’t have to disclose where the money came from. Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun reports:
I asked Adelson during the brief interview if he was going to start donating to American Crossroads or its nonprofit adjunct, Crossroads GPS, and he smiled and declined to answer. But a few minutes later, he expressed gushing admiration for Karl Rove, who helped found the groups, and I pressed him again.
“I’m going to give one more small donation – you might not think it’s that small – to a SuperPAC and then if I give it will be to a c4,” a reference to 501c4 nonprofits, which are tax-exempt and also exempt from disclosures. I opined that surely meant Crossroads, which would allow him to indirectly help Mitt Romney and Sen. Dean Heller, who is running against Rep. Shelley Berkley. Berkley used to work for Adelson, but they had a falling out in the mid-1990s and he surely would love to see her lose.
“Do you know how many c4s there are?” Adelson retorted, as if to try to indicate he had more choices than Crossroads. Indeed. But I can’t think of too many that will influence who controls the White House and the U.S. Senate. And did he telegraph where his money is going with the Rove comments? I think so…
Adelson said he believed the media’s inevitable use of the phrase “casino mogul” whenever his donations became public “is not helpful to the person.”
This is why I said when the Citizens United decision came down that companies were not going to start spending money on directly supporting candidates, as that ruling allowed them to do. They don’t want their name on them. They’d much rather give the money to a third party group — Americans for Fluffy Kittens and Kindly Grandmothers — that doesn’t have to disclose where it came from. No politician wants to have commercials on their behalf that say “This ad paid for by BP or Dow Chemical.”
Interestingly, Adelson also told Ralston that he is opposed to legalizing online gaming, which puts him at odds with nearly everyone else in the casino business today (it is a myth that the brick and mortar casinos want to prevent online gambling from being made legal because they want to avoid the competition; in fact, they want in on it).