Billionaire Sheldon Adelson is probably best known for having spent a fortune on the last presidential election and last month’s “Adelson Primary,” in which Republican presidential aspirants make a pilgrimage to Las Vegas to seek the mega donor’s support.
But Tom Hamburger reports for The Washington Post that Adelson has also been “quietly developing” a state-level lobbying network. So far, its primary goal has been to kill off competition with his casino business from online gaming operations.
Adelson became a political force in 2012 when he poured more than $90 million into Republican presidential campaigns.
But less noted at the time was Adelson’s largesse in Florida, where he contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to political committees supportive of Gov. Rick Scott (R). Adelson also gave $2 million to the Republican Governors Association and directed millions more to candidates for attorney general and other state-level offices across the country.
Many of the beneficiaries of Adelson’s state donations are now siding with the billionaire as he seeks to outlaw a practice he views as a threat to the economic health of the casino industry on which he built his fortune.
The efforts by Adelson, who has vowed to play a big role in boosting another Republican for the White House in 2016, reveal the unusual role being played by the GOP mega-donor as he balances a largely conservative ideological agenda with his business interests. In doing so, he has triggered what may become one of the costliest lobbying battles of the year, in Washington and state capitals, as he combats rival gambling companies favoring a move to the Internet.
Hamburger goes on to detail how Adelson is expanding his reach beyond his conservative allies to woo Democrats who might help advance his agenda in states like California.
Read the whole article at The Washington Post »