He’s worth knowing about because Adelson vowed during this year’s elections to give $100 million to Republican candidates. According to the latest figures, he apparently reached that goal.
Adelson, Forbes says, is worth around $20.5 billion.
Let’s pause here and acknowledge that under current campaign-financing laws court rulings (misguided as many of them are), this is Adelson’s money and he can spend it as he sees fit. Democrats have their own deep-pocket donors, though they have not contributed on Adelson’s scale.
When Adelson previously bankrolled the Newt Gingrich presidential campaign, the gambling titan’s main goal seemed to be support for Israel. He opposed the two-state plan for settling the Israeli-Palestinian question and felt Mitt Romney was waffling on the issue. There’s a clear suggestion that Romney’s stronger stand later in the campaign was influenced by Adelson.
However, Adelson has other concerns. At this time, his company is in negotiations with the Internal Revenue Service over “unrecognized tax benefits” that showed up in a tax audit of the Macao and Singapore operations. In addition, two ongoing federal investigations into Adelson’s casino empire might lead to criminal charges. Although Adelson’s own conduct is not under investigation, he was reportedly upset with the way the Justice Department is handling the case. A Republican victory with his financial help would not have hurt his cause.
But, alas, there was no Republican presidential victory, and for Adelson, the road ahead looks rough. So, what does he do now?
First, he gives more money to the GOP. He recently told The Wall Street Journal that he would double his contributions to Republicans in the next election.
As for his money, though faced with the possibility of the nation going over the “fiscal cliff,” Adelson’s Sands Corp. has announced a special dividend of $2.75 a share. This netted Adelson an estimated personal gain of more than $1 billion.
Being rich and powerful has its advantages, especially in a post-Citizens United era.