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At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Adelson’

Passionate And Opinionated, Adelson Makes Waves In Presidential Race

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

WASHINGTON – Call it the Adelson conundrum: What happens when the guy who acts as if he owns the room really does?

In March at TribeFest, the annual gathering of young adults organized by the Jewish Federations of North America at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, Sheldon Adelson walked in on a surrogate debate between Matt Brooks, who directs the Republican Jewish Coalition, and his counterpart at the National Jewish Democratic Council, David A. Harris.

Adelson, who owns the Venetian, was the first to ask a question. He went on to berate Harris for six minutes, describing President Obama as a “crybaby” who should be in diapers, according to several people in the room, including an organizer.

The organizer, speaking on background, said the time Adelson used and his tone were luxuries that would not have been afforded anyone else. The difference, as the organizer said, is that Adelson “owned the room, literally.”

That same sense of entitlement could be driving the 79-year-old Adelson’s conversations with Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

This week it was reported that Adelson was pressing Romney to speak out publicly in favor of the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, to commit to moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, and to declare the Palestinians as unwilling to make peace. Romney, the report said, is resisting.

Through political action committees, Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have funneled $10 million toward Romney’s election effort. Adelson has said he’s willing to spend up to $100 million to defeat Obama.

Those close to Adelson say politics are a small part of what makes him tick.

“He is passionately committed to Jewish life and living, and to Israel,” said Elliot Karp, the director of the Las Vegas Jewish Federation. “And he is no more or less polarizing than anyone else who gives his opinions.”

Adelson has given nearly $100 million to Birthright Israel, the program that brings Jews aged 18-26 to Israel for free. He revived the fortunes of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem with a $25 million gift in 2006. He has established a $4.5 million Jewish studies center in his name at the Shalem Center, a right-wing think tank in Jerusalem. His relatively smaller donations have helped bolster groups such as the Zionist Organization of America and The Israel Project.

“The true story is that the amount of money he spends on politics is dwarfed by what he gives to philanthropy,” said the Republican Jewish Coalition’s Brooks. “They are the single most important philanthropists in the Jewish community, in terms of Birthright, Yad Vashem and medical research,” he said of the Adelsons.

Adelson is the 15th richest man in the world, according to Forbes, with an estimated worth of $25 billion.

The confluence of Adelson’s three major interests – Jewish philanthropy, Republican politics and the casino business, which is how Adelson became one of the world’s richest men – has become one of the preeminent narratives of this election campaign.

Some frustrated Jewish Democrats believe the Jewish community is unduly influenced by its single largest donor.

“It’s very intimidating,” said Steve Rabinowitz, a leading public relations consultant to Jewish and Democratic causes, speaking of Adelson’s influence. “Where he’s given money, he’s given extraordinary amounts of money, and I’ve seen it firsthand.”

For his part, Adelson is unapologetic about using his money to influence policy.

“I’m against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections,” he told Forbes in February. “But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades,” he said, referring to the left-wing financier George Soros, who also is Jewish.

The admixture of Adelson’s politics and charitable giving is not new. In December, addressing a Chanukah gathering in Israel of hundreds of Birthright participants, Adelson championed Newt Gingrich after the then-Republican candidate for president said the Palestinians were an “invented people.” At the time, Adelson was the single biggest backer of Gingrich; he and his wife gave $16.5 million to the ex-House of Representatives speaker’s effort.

In 2007, Adelson broke with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee over its support for a congressional letter calling for a massive increase in funding for the Palestinian Authority. Adelson previously had been one of AIPAC’s major backers, helping to fund its new Washington headquarters.

NJDC Removes Adelson Petition

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

The National Jewish Democratic Council, citing peace among Jewish groups, has taken down a petition calling on Republicans not to accept money from Sheldon Adelson.

“Regarding our recent campaign surrounding Sheldon Adelson, we don’t believe we engaged in character assassination; we stand by everything we said, which was sourced from current, credible news accounts. Accusations against Mr. Adelson were made not by us, but by others, including Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Nonetheless, we regret the concern that this campaign has caused. And in the interest of shalom bayit (peace in our home / community), we are going to take down our petition today. Moving forward, we’ll continue to work hard to fight against the unique threat posed by the outsized influence of certain individual megadonors, which rightly concerns most Americans and most American Jews.”

The petition based the call on allegations by a former employee suing Adelson for firing him that Adelson agreed to allow prostituion at his casinos in Macau, China; on the claim by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that Adelson, with the tens of millions of dollars he has infused into the Republican side of this year’s elections, was effectively introducing Chinese money into the campaign; and on federal investigations into allegations that Adelson has paid bribes in China.

A number of Jewish groups and figures, including the Jewish Federations of North America, the Anti-Defamation League, the Republican Jewish Coalition and Alan Dershowitz called the allegations unconscionable, noting that all had yet to be proven.

Adelson is a major giver to Jewish causes, especially the Birthright program bringing young people to Israel and Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, and has given to causes associated with or favored by those who defended him in this case.

“Accusations against Mr. Adelson were made not by us, but by others, including Senator John McCain (R-AZ),” Harris and Stanley said. “Nonetheless, we regret the concern that this campaign has caused. And in the interest of shalom bayit (peace in our home / community), we are going to take down our petition today. Moving forward, we’ll continue to work hard to fight against the unique threat posed by the outsized influence of certain individual megadonors, which rightly concerns most Americans and most American Jews.”

A Curious Gambit

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

We were struck by a petition drive launched by the National Jewish Democratic Council demanding that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and the Republican Party reject contributions from billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson.

The NJDC claims Mr. Adelson’s money is tainted, based on unproven allegations in a lawsuit brought by a disgruntled former employee as well as other claims that Mr. Adelson was personally aware of and condoned unsavory conduct in several of his companies. Coming at a time when the media are reporting problems with President Obama’s reelection fund-raising efforts and, in contrast, a flourishing money drive by Mr. Romney, we can’t help but detect a sense of panic. This is especially so since Mr. Adelson has announced plans for huge infusions in contributions to Republican coffers in the run-up to the November election. But the outcry over Mr. Adelson may end up being a Pandora’s Box for the president.

As noted, the NJDC campaign invokes unproven charges against Mr. Adelson. Yet major Democratic contributor George Soros was convicted in 2002 by a French court of insider trading and fined some 2.2 million Euros. No similar calls have been made to reject or return his contributions. The NJDC effort is also likely to resurrect the controversy over President Obama’s refusal to return a million-dollar contribution from comedian Bill Maher following his outrageous derogatory public references to Sarah Palin and other prominent Republican women.

And then there are the very public embraces of the racial arsonist Al Sharpton by the president and his attorney general, Eric Holder. That’s the Reverend Al Sharpton of Tawana Brawley, Crown Heights and Freddie’s Fashion Mart fame. Most recently, Mr. Sharpton stretched to find a racial dimension to the congressional vote holding Mr. Holder in contempt for failure to turn over requested documents:

As I marched this past Sunday with tens of thousands in New York in opposition to the abhorrent practice of stop & frisk, I couldn’t help but think of our attorney general. Tattered down and publicly humiliated, AG Holder has been mishandled just like the young Black and Latino men (and women) who are demonized on our streets everyday….

From the president on down, Democrats have ignored these notorious actions, which are matters of public knowledge. If Mr. Adelson is a fitting target for rebuke, why not those from the Democratic side? And a word or two about the NJDC’s reliance on mere allegations might also be in order.

Alan Dershowitz: National Jewish Democratic Council Doesn’t Speak for Me on Adelson

Monday, July 9th, 2012

David Harris, the President of the National Jewish Democratic Council, has asked Jewish Democrats to sign a petition demanding that Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican Party stop taking campaign contributions from Sheldon Adelson, and return those already received. They claim his money is “tainted.” This absurd allegation comes from a highly questionable, if not totally discredited, source—namely a former employee who was fired and is suing Adelson. He claims that Adelson approved of prostitution in his Macau casinos. Harris has apparently credited this claim even though no evidence has been submitted to support it and no finding has been made by any court. Has he never heard of “due process” or the “presumption of innocence?”

I know Sheldon Adelson and I have worked with him on several matters relating to Israel and the Jewish community. I have spoken on behalf of the wonderful school he has built in Las Vegas. And have had the pleasure of teaching one of the brilliant graduates of that school. Adelson was deeply involved in the creation of the Birthright Israel Program, which has had extraordinary success in exposing young Jews to Israel. It’s hard to find anyone who has done as much for the Jewish community as Sheldon Adelson. Adelson grew up in Boston in near poverty and is a shining example of the American dream. He is a self-made multibillionaire who has contributed significantly to the world of modern technology and to the economic growth of Las Vegas and other areas. His generosity has helped repair the world.

I am a Democrat and do not agree with many of Adelson’s political views, but I think it’s outrageous for the National Jewish Democratic Council to level unfounded allegations against Adelson. They do not speak for me, and for the many other Jews who admire Adelson’s contributions to the world, to America, to Israel and to the Jewish community. I don’t know who Harris purports to speak for as President of the National Jewish Democratic Council, but his partisan gamesmanship is an embarrassment to many Jewish Democrats. The attack comes with particular ill grace from a Jewish organization, considering all that Adelson has done for Jewish causes, and considering the fact that there is nothing uniquely “Jewish” about the questionable allegations against him.

Moreover, the demand that Mitt Romney return Adelson’s contributions is absurd. If all candidates had to return the contributions of every businessman against whom questionable allegations were made in a vengeful lawsuit, millions of dollars would have to be returned by hundreds of candidates all around the country. Consider just one highly publicized example: the million dollars given by comedian Bill Maher to a super PAC supporting Barack Obama. I single out Maher, whose comedy I generally like, because he said that he “decided to become the Sheldon Adelson of the Obama campaign,” and because extremists on the right have similarly demanded that the Super PAC return Maher’s contribution, claiming it is tainted by his misogynistic rants against female Republicans such as Sarah Palin, against whom he has used vile, sexist language. This is how the Christian Science Monitor delicately characterized Maher’s remarks: “[H]e has said some very bad things about Sarah Palin and other Republican women. He’s started with “bimbo” and then moved on into derogatory gynecological references that are too obscene for us to repeat.”

I’m sure that if the Democrats were to apply David Harris’ “Adelson test” to all the contributions they have received from Hollywood moguls and other wealthy business people, they wouldn’t like the results.

So let extremists in both parties stop this nonsense about returning “tainted” contributions and focus on the real issues that separate the Democrats from the Republicans.
Originally published by Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

NJDC Calls on Romney to Return ‘Adelson’s Tainted Money Immediately’

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Jewish Democrats called on Mitt Romney and Republicans not to accept money from Sheldon Adelson because of allegations that the casino magnate approved of prostitution at his China properties.

National Jewish Democratic Council President David Harris appealed to NJDC supporters to sign on to a petition to “Tell Romney to Reject Adelson’s Dirty Money.”

Harris wrote:

“As you saw during the Republican primaries, GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson dumped millions of dollars into supporting Newt Gingrich’s feckless campaign. Now he’s doing the same for Mitt Romney – with no plans to stop. But perhaps the most alarming aspect of Adelson’s potentially unlimited contributions is where the money comes from.

“It’s well known that Adelson makes tremendous sums of money through his casinos in China  which – according to 2008 Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain (AZ) – means that Chinese ‘foreign money’ (to quote McCain) is flooding our political system. But this week, reports surfaced that in addition to his anti-union and allegedly corrupt business practices, Adelson ‘personally approved’ of prostitution in his Macau casinos.

“Given these reports, Romney and the rest of the Republican Party must cease accepting Adelson’s tainted money immediately.”

Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, told JTA the call was “disgusting” because it was based on allegations in a lawsuit filed by Steven Jacobs, a casino executive who was fired by Adelson in 2010.

“Setting aside their partisan agenda, the NJDC should be ashamed of itself for attacking someone who has done more for the Jewish community and Jewish philanthropy than anyone in recent history,” Brooks said, citing Adelson’s major contributions to the Birthright Israel program, which brings Jewish youth to Israel, and to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum.

“If this is proven to be nothing more than rantings of an employee in legal battle, NJDC is going to have a lot of egg on its face,” Brooks said. “If they were truly mensches about it, they would wait until it is adjudicated.”

Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have given tens of millions of dollars this year to political committees supporting Republicans in general and Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, in particular, although it is not clear if the Adelsons have given directly to Romney.

Adelson is also a major funder of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

Adelson has clashed repeatedly with unions at his Las Vegas properties. Earlier this year it was reported that federal authorities are investigating allegations that he bribed Chinese officials to advance his interests there.

JTA content was used in this report.

McCain Says Adelson Contributions Are ‘Foreign Money’

Friday, June 15th, 2012

The former GOP presidential candidate, himself a devout campaign finance reformer, is accusing the current GOP candidate of accepting foreign money in exchange for influence over U.S. policy. The plot thickens more than a little when the agent of influence is a Jewish billionaire and the foreign power in question is the State of Israel.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., asserted that the involvement of anonymous donors and super PACs in American elections will lead to corruption, PBS reported.

McCain alleged specifically that money from outside the country may be helping one PAC: billionaire contributor Sheldon Adelson, owner of casinos in the United States, Macau and Singapore, has pledged $100 million to Republican interests this election cycle.

“Maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into an American campaign,” McCain told Judy Woodruff on Thursday.

The 2008 Republican presidential nominee has been a critic of the Supreme Court decisions that paved the way for super PACs.

McCain and former senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) were the chief sponsors of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, known as the McCain–Feingold Act, which regulates the financing of political campaigns.

According to PoliPundit.com, the active ingredient in McCain’s borderline xenophobic objections, as well as in Adelson’s move to bear hug Romney into submission, is Israel.

On a trip to Las Vegas late last month, Romney and Adelson had a private meeting, according to that website, after which Adelson attended Romney’s dessert fundraiser for those who contributed $50,000 or more.

People close to Adelson said that he wants to be certain about Romney’s positions on support for Israel. Adelson has publicly criticized President Barack Obama’s support of Israel as too weak.

Woodruff also asked McCain about the comparisons between the president’s “doing fine” gaffe and what McCain said about the fundamentals of the economy during his 2008 run as the Republican nominee. Specifically, she probed his feelings on the striking similarity between the attack ad the Romney campaign issued on Thursday, and Team Obama’s ad that many have said was McCain’s fatal blow.

“We’re in the midst of a fiscal meltdown. When I said, look we’re in a terrible fiscal crisis but the fundamentals of our economy are strong,” McCain said. “So I think there is a difference between the two.”

Adelson Gives Romney PAC $10 Million

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

According to the Wall Street Journal, chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who fueled Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid, is now giving $10 million to the super PAC Restore Our Future, which supports presumptive  GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

It is the largest single donation to Romney’s coffer to date. By law, the independent political action committee is not allowed to coordinate its work with the formal Romney campaign.

Forbes Magazine ranked Adelson among the 10 wealthiest Americans, with more than $20 billion.

Adelson and his wife gave $21 million altogether to a PAC supporting Gingrich during the primaries.

Billionaire Adelson Weighs Pouring $100 million into Newt’s Campaign

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Just when you thought Newt Gingrich was out of the 2012 presidential race for the second, or is it the third time, billionaire casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, 78,  is contemplating seeing his man get yet another shot of adrenaline, the green kind.

Earlier this year, Adelson handed Gingrich’s super PAC $5 million, then his Israeli-born wife Miriam gave another $5 million, then Newt lost Iowa and New Hampshire. But then he won South Carolina. And was abysmal in Florida. And Vegas, the Adelsons’ home turf, despite the special post-Shabbes vote. Then Rick Santorum stole Conservative hearts in a succession of states and Newt was quickly demoted yet again.

But now, not only is Adelson planning to deposit yet another $10 million into Gingrich’s account, so he could play in the March 6 Super Tuesday primaries, but great moneybags Sheldon just intimated to Forbes that he is contemplating giving his man a fat $100 million.

Say you had $25 billion, and the house and the car were already paid for, would you give Newt this much money? Better yet, how much do you have to love a guy to pump this kind of cash into his arteries?

Marc Tracy at The Tablet says the $100 million pledge is “an attention-grabbing statement, but a largely meaningless one,” at least for Newt. He argues that more than wishing to see Newt get the nomination, Adelson wants to see President Obama going back to a life of community organizing. So Sheldon won’t pay for negative ads against fellow Republicans, so Newt will lose again.

Then, who knows – would Mitt or Rick be interested in talking to a Jewish senior citizens with more money than Greece? You bet your mousaka they would.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/billionaire-adelson-weighs-pouring-100-million-into-newts-campaign/2012/02/22/

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