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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    The biggest single donor in political history backed all loosers

    Little to Show for Cash Flood by Big Donors

    By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and JESS BIDGOOD

    Published: November 7, 2012 93 Comments

    At the private air terminal at Logan Airport in Boston early Wednesday, men in unwrinkled suits sank into plush leather chairs as they waited to board Gulfstream jets, trading consolations over Mitt Romney’s loss the day before.


    Patrick T. Fallon for The New York Times

    Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, in February. Mr. Adelson, the biggest single donor in political history, supported eight candidates through "super PACs." All of them lost on Tuesday.

    “All I can say is the American people have spoken,” said Kenneth Langone, the founder of Home Depot and one of Mr. Romney’s top fund-raisers, briskly plucking off his hat and settling into a couch.

    The biggest single donor in political history, the casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, mingled with other Romney backers at a postelection breakfast, fresh off a large gamble gone bad. Of the eight candidates he supported with tens of millions of dollars in contributions to “super PACs,” none were victorious on Tuesday.

    And as calls came in on Wednesday from some of the donors who had poured more than $300 million into the pair of big-spending outside groups founded in part by Karl Rove — perhaps the leading political entrepreneur of the super PAC era — he offered them a grim upside: without us, the race would not have been as close as it was.

    The most expensive election in American history drew to a close this week with a price tag estimated at more than $6 billion, propelled by legal and regulatory decisions that allowed wealthy donors to pour record amounts of cash into races around the country.

    But while outside spending affected the election in innumerable ways — reshaping the Republican presidential nominating contest, clogging the airwaves with unprecedented amounts of negative advertising and shoring up embattled Republican incumbents in the House — the prizes most sought by the emerging class of megadonors remained outside their grasp. President Obama will return to the White House in January, and the Democrats have strengthened their lock on the Senate.

    The election’s most lavishly self-financed candidate fared no better.

    Linda E. McMahon, a Connecticut Republican who is a former professional wrestling executive, spent close to $100 million — nearly all of it her own money — on two races for the Senate, conceding defeat on Tuesday for the second time in three years.

    “Money is a necessary condition for electoral success,” said Bob Biersack, a senior fellow at the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign spending. “But it’s not sufficient, and it’s never been.”

    Even by the flush standards of a campaign in which the two presidential candidates raised $1 billion each, the scale of outside spending was staggering: more than $1 billion all told, about triple the amount in 2010.

    Mr. Obama faced at least $386 million in negative advertising from super PACs and other outside spenders, more than double what the groups supporting him spent on the airwaves. Outside groups spent more than $37 million in Virginia’s Senate race and $30 million in Ohio’s, a majority to aid the Republican candidates.

    The bulk of that outside money came from a relatively small group of wealthy donors, unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allowed unlimited contributions to super PACs. Harold Simmons, a Texas industrialist, gave $26.9 million to super PACs backing Mr. Romney and Republican candidates for the Senate. Joe Ricketts, the owner of the Chicago Cubs, spent close to $13 million to bankroll a super PAC attacking Mr. Obama over federal spending.

    Bob Perry, a Texas homebuilder, poured more than $21 million into super PACs active in the presidential race and the Senate battles in Florida and Virginia, where Democrats narrowly prevailed. A donor network marshaled by Charles and David Koch, the billionaire industrialists and conservative philanthropists, reportedly sought to raise $400 million for tax-exempt groups that are not required to disclose their spending.

    Mr. Adelson’s giving to super PACs and other outside groups came to more than $60 million, though in public Mr. Adelson did not seem overly concerned about the paltry returns on his investment.

    “Paying bills,” Mr. Adelson said on Tuesday night when asked by a Norwegian reporter how he thought his donations had been spent. “That’s how you spend money. Either that or become a Jewish husband — you spend a lot of money.”

    Flush with cash, Republican-leaning groups outspent Democratic ones by an even greater margin than in 2010. But rather than produce a major partisan imbalance, the money merely evened the playing field in many races.

    In several competitive Senate races, high spending by outside groups was offset to a large extent with stronger fund-raising by Democratic candidates, assisted at the margins by Democratic super PACs. For much of the fall, Mr. Obama and Democratic groups broadcast at least as many ads, and sometimes more, in swing states than Mr. Romney and his allied groups, in part because Mr. Obama was able to secure lower ad rates by paying for most of the advertising himself. Mr. Romney relied far more on outside groups, which must pay higher rates.

    Haley Barbour, a former Mississippi governor who helped Mr. Rove raise money for American Crossroads and its sister group, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, said that without a blitz of coordinated anti-Obama advertising in the summer, the campaign would not have been as competitive.

    “I believe that some of that money actually kept Romney from getting beat down by the carpet-bombing he underwent from the Obama forces,” Mr. Barbour said. “I did look at it more as us trying to keep our candidates from getting swamped, like what happened to McCain.”

    Some advocates for tighter campaign financing regulations argued that who won or lost was beside the point. The danger, they argued, is that in the post-Citizens United world, candidates and officeholders on both sides of the aisle are far more beholden to the wealthy individuals who can finance large-scale independent spending.

    “Unlimited contributions and secret money in American politics have resulted in the past in scandal and the corruption of government decisions,” said Fred Wertheimer, the president of Democracy 21, a watchdog group. “This will happen again in the future.”

    But on Wednesday, at least, the nation’s megadonors returned home with lighter wallets and few victories.

    As the morning wore on at Logan Airport, more guests from Mr. Romney’s election-night party at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center trickled in, lugging garment bags and forming a small line at the security checkpoint.

    “It’s going to be a long flight home, isn’t it?” said one person, who asked not to be identified.

    The investor Julian Robertson, who held fund-raisers for Mr. Romney and gave more than $2 million to a pro-Romney super PAC, arrived with several companions. Mr. Robertson spotted an acquaintance: Emil W. Henry Jr., an economic adviser and a fund-raiser for Mr. Romney, to whom Mr. Robertson had offered a ride on his charter.

    “Aww, group hug,” Mr. Henry said.

    Little to Show for Cash Flood by Big Donors - NYTimes.com
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    Sheldon Adelson


    Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg News

    Updated: Nov. 8, 2012

    Sheldon Adelson, one of the world’s richest men, became the single biggest political contributor in history during the 2012 elections.

    Mr. Adelson donated more than $60 million. But of the eight candidates he supported, none won. That included the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, who was battered by negative ads financed by Mr. Adelson during the primary before Mr. Adelson switched to become a supporter.

    In public, Mr. Adelson did not seem overly concerned about the paltry returns on his investment. “Paying bills,” Mr. Adelson said on election night when asked by a Norwegian reporter how he thought his donations had been spent. “That’s how you spend money. Either that or become a Jewish husband — you spend a lot of money.”

    By some estimates worth as much as $25 billion, Mr. Adelson presides over a global empire of casinos, hotels and convention centers whose centerpiece is the Venetian in Las Vegas, an exuberant monument to excess.

    While Mr. Adelson’s activism in Israel has been very high-profile, he had been much more private about his political efforts in the United States. That changed in early 2012, when Mr. Adelson and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, moved to the forefront in a new trend of the super-rich giving larger than ever support to candidates.

    Big Gingrich Supporter, Wooed by Romney
    During the Republican primaries, Mr. Adelson stood out for his willingness to spend money on super PACs, which must register with the election commission and disclose details of their contributions and spending. The Adelson family almost single-handedly bankrolled Winning Our Future, a super PAC backing Newt Gingrich during the primaries, giving the group more than $20 million.
    Read More...
    Background
    Mr. Adelson has kept a low profile nationally, but people in Las Vegas know him as a querulous figure who has existed in a near-constant state of embattlement since building the Venetian in the late 1990s. He filed claims and counterclaims against scores of contractors who worked on that project, and over the years he has started legal fights with the local A.C.L.U., the Culinary Workers, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and even the power company, which he thought should pay the cost of removing utility poles from the Venetian site.

    Longtime friends and associates said his hard exterior was rooted in his days growing up in a rough-and-tumble section of Boston, where his father drove a cab.

    After high school, Mr. Adelson had stints working as a mortgage banker, running a business packaging toiletries for hotels and operating a charter travel company. But he hit the jackpot with a computer trade show, Comdex, which he started in Las Vegas in 1979. Comdex became the signature annual event for the computer industry, attracting more than 200,000 visitors at its peak.

    In 1988, Mr. Adelson and his partners bought the historic Sands Hotel and Casino and built a convention center to accommodate their thriving trade show. Eight years later, after they sold Comdex for $862 million, Mr. Adelson used his profits on a risky new venture: tearing down the aging Sands and spending $1.5 billion to develop the Venetian, the lavish hotel and casino, which opened in 1999.

    With the Venetian, Mr. Adelson broke the basic rules of casino design by building a facility that was geared toward conventions rather than centered on the casino. Where the old way was to motivate guests to spend time on the casino floor by offering few amenities in the room, the Venetian parted from Las Vegas tradition, installing minibars and fax machines in each guest room.

    Mr. Adelson’s plans were met with skepticism, if not scorn. But by 2008 the Venetian was the Strip’s second most profitable casino hotel, behind only the Bellagio, said Robert A. LaFleur, an industry analyst with the Susquehanna Financial Group, and that is with only a third of its revenue coming from its gambling floor.

    He then turned his attention to Asia. China in 1999 reclaimed the former Portuguese colony of Macao, and a few years later ended a casino monopoly that had existed for many years. Mr. Adelson’s company, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, bid for one of the licenses offered by the Chinese and won, leading to the opening of the $240 million Macao Sands in 2004.

    Potential Liabilities
    The question of what motivated Mr. Adelson’s singular generosity toward the former House speaker emerged front and center during the primaries. People who know him say his affinity for Mr. Gingrich stems from a devotion to Israel as well as loyalty to a friend. A fervent Zionist who opposes any territorial compromise to make way for a Palestinian state, Mr. Adelson has long been enamored of Mr. Gingrich’s full-throated defense of Israel.

    But for any recipient of his largesse, Mr. Adelson comes with potential liabilities. His empire is founded on casinos, which could upset some social conservatives. That he operates in China could rankle isolationist voters, while some of his views on Israel are hawkish by mainstream Republican standards.

    The Justice Department is also investigating accusations by a former casino executive that Mr. Adelson’s operations in Macao may have violated federal laws banning corrupt payments to foreign officials. In addition, a Chinese businessman accused Mr. Adelson of reneging on an agreement to share profits from the Macao project. In March 2012, Asian American Enterprises, which is controlled by the businessman, Shi Sheng Hao, who also goes by the name Marshall Hao, filed suit against Las Vegas Sands, alleging breach of contract and seeking compensation of 3 billion patacas, or more than $375 million.

    And when Mr. Adelson needed something done in China, he often turned to his company’s “chief Beijing representative,” a mysterious businessman named Yang Saixin. Mr. Yang arranged meetings for Mr. Adelson with senior Chinese officials, acted as a frontman on several ambitious projects for Las Vegas Sands and intervened on the Sands’s behalf with Chinese regulators.

    But today, Mr. Yang, along with tens of millions of dollars in payments the Sands made through him in China, is a focus of a wide-ranging federal investigation into potential bribery of foreign officials and other matters in China and Macau, according to people with knowledge of the inquiries.

    Mr. Adelson has a reputation for irascibility and has left a trail of angry former business associates. Even his two sons sued him at one point, accusing him of cheating them, though they lost. He filed a libel suit against a Las Vegas newspaper columnist, John L. Smith, who eventually had to declare bankruptcy, and he waged a bitter court battle with a former employee whom he accused of spreading lies about him.


    Sheldon Adelson News - The New York Times
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 07-20-2014 at 05:34 PM.
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    GOP donors question million dollar loss

    NBCNews.com - ‎29 minutes ago‎
    NewsNation | Aired on November 08, 2012.

    GOP donors question million dollar loss. Politico reports that Republican strategist Karl Rove is calling top donors to explain their nearly $400 million lost Tuesday night.

    VIDEO @
    GOP donors question million dollar loss - Video on NBCNews.com
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 07-20-2014 at 08:50 PM.
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    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 12-07-2012 at 11:35 AM.
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    RELATED

    Sheldon Adelson Pledges to Double Support for GOP Politicians
    17 December 2012

    . . . Adelson
    , who contributed $20 million to Mitt Romney’s super PAC "Restore Our Future," $15 million to Newt Gingrich’s super PAC – which for all intents and purposes kept the disgraced former House Speaker in the presidential primary race and handed the nomination to Romney -- and about $50 million to nonprofit Republican fronts such as Rove’s Crossroads GPS. . .

    Adelson also claimed that he was "basically a social liberal," and that his views differed sharply from the Republican Party on a number of issues:

    "Number one, I’m supporting stem-cell research." As exemplified by the new Adelson medical research foundation that is funding some stem-cell based science.

    "I’m pro choice," he pointed out. . .

    On immigration: "I’m pro-Dream Act . . .
    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 07-20-2014 at 08:50 PM.
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