Adelson Family Foundation
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Contributions associated with Sheldon Adelson may come from one of the following entities: Sheldon Adelson, Miriam Adelson, Shelley F. Adelson, Adfam Incorporated, Interface Group, Interface Group – Massachusetts, Interface Group – Nevada, Interface Operations LLC, Las Vegas Sands, Sands Expo & Convention Center, Sheldon & Miriam Adelson, Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino, Showboat Political, The Palazzo, Venetian Casino Resort, Venetian Macau, Venetian Resort & Hotel
By the time Mitt Romney wrapped up the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, had already poured $15 million into the super PAC supporting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Winning Our Future. That massive sum, spent on a candidate who was always something of a long shot (despite a couple of short-lived surges in the polls), bewildered many political observers. However, it was barely a drop in the bucket for the 80-year-old Adelson, whose Las Vegas Sands casino empire has made him a billionaire many times over. According to Forbes, Adelson’s estimated net worth was $28.5 billion as of September 2013 (an $8 billion increase from the same time in 2012).
After the primary, Adelson shifted his attention from defeating Mitt Romney to defeating President Obama and other Democratic candidates, contributing a total of nearly $53.7 million to super PACs in the 2012 cycle. Twenty million went to the Romney-supporting Restore Our Future , and $1 million went to a super PAC backing Florida Senate hopeful Connie Mack. Adelson and his wife also gave $5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC chaired by former Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, $5 million to the YG Action Fund, and $1 million to the Ending Spending Action Fund, which ran anti-Obama ads. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Adelson “contributed more than $150 million to pro-Republican efforts during the 2012 election cycle.”
The presidential race may have thrust him into the spotlight, but Adelson’s substantial giving didn’t come out of the blue. In 2007, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson started the Adelson Family Foundation “to strengthen the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” a mission reflected in sizable grants to a variety of Jewish charities and advocacy groups. Most significantly, the Adelsons have gifted more than $134 million to the Birthright Israel Foundation, which provides free educational trips to Israel for Jews between the ages of 18 and 26 years old. In 2012, the foundation gave out more than $44,834,048 in grants.
Adelson is also the owner of Israel Hayom, a “free daily newspaper [in Israel] known for its relentless drumbeat of support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other right-wing politicians.” Adelson received wide media coverage and even elicited a response from the Iranian government when he suggested that the U.S. detonate a nuclear weapon inside Iran as a way to induce the country’s government to end its nuclear program.
At home, Adelson’s political giving reflects his hawkishness on foreign policy and, perhaps especially, his abhorrence of organized labor. Accordingly, the vast majority of his contributions have benefited Republican candidates and committees, even though Adelson describes himself as a “social liberal.” In 2008, Adelson was the “main funder” of an outside group called Freedom’s Watch, which closed its doors about a month after the election. Notably, that organization’s leadership included Carl Forti, a longtime Republican operative connected to Restore Our Future and Karl Rove’s American Crossroads.
Adelson is also behind a campaign to ban internet gambling. His new group, the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, co-chaired by former senator Blanche Lincoln, will try to highlight the dangers online gambling poses to children and the poor. According to the Washington Post, “Adelson’s competitors question his concern about the social costs of Internet gambling. They note that his company obtained an online gambling license in 2003 in one of the British Channel Islands.”