Who Is Sheldon Adelson and What Has Newt Promised Him?

sheldon adelson

Sheldon Adelson and his wife Dr. Miriam Adelson

Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino owner, is now the poster boy for what’s terribly wrong with our campaign-finance system. Adelson, you may recall, had, before the South Carolina Republican primary, donated $5 million to the pro-Gingrich Super Pac “Winning Our Future” – giving Newt a pile of money for negative advertising against Mitt Romney in South Carolina.

Adelson has done it again. He and his wife Marian have cut another $5 million check for Gingrich to go negative on Romney in Florida. The money won’t go as far as it did in South Carolina – TV ads cost a lot more in Florida – but it’s enough to give the Grinch a solid footing.

robert reichAnd, who knows? The Adelsons are billionaires. They might decide to put in another $5 million or perhaps $20 million into Gingrich’s Super Pac. The point is, there’s no limit.

Do you know who Sheldon and Marian Adelson are? Do you know what Gingrich has promised them, or what they think they’ll get out of a Grinch presidency? I don’t. But if Newt becomes President of the United States, they’ll be singularly responsible. And we better find out, because Newt will owe them big time.

robert reichForget the Lincoln Bedroom. The Adelsons and their kids will have the run of the White House, including the Oval Office. Hey, they’ll take over the Old Executive Building next door and turn it into a casino.

Never before in the history of American politics has a single couple given more money to a single candidate and had a bigger impact – all courtesy of the Supreme Court and its grotesque decisions that speech is money and corporations are people under the First Amendment.

Robert Reich
Robert Reich’s Blog


  1. Andrew F says

    Did Adelson donate out of corporate funds or his own bank account? If it’s the latter, then it doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court thinks about corporations.

  2. Joe Weinstein says

    Mr Reich and everyone, exactly what is ‘grotesque’ (Reich’s word in his final sentence) about the notion that money can be used to support speech?

    Corporations are obviously not people, but their spokespersons – employed or sponsored – indeed are people, and as such are entitled to speech under the First Amendment. So exactly why would depriving corporations of the ability to spend money to promote speech somehow be a good thing?

    The problem is NOT that corporations can spend money.
    The problem IS that big-money corporations with many employees and stockholders are allowed – as are many local governments – to be run by oligarchicies, even by tyrant CEOs.

    (Reich’s example presumably – but he doesn’t make it clear – is a case where a corporation owned by the Adelsons made the donation at their behest. But the Adelsons themselves are people. Would Reich feel better if the Adelsons paid directly out of their personal bank accounts. Or was that in fact what they did?)

    The problem does NOT inherently lie with having lots of corporate-sponsored speech.

    The problem DOES lie with masses of passive couch-potatoes who don’t bother to seek out or listen to any speech other than what their favorite mass media programs bring them, corporate-sponsored or other.

    The problem DOES lie with a popular but warped sense of civic duty and responsibilities and rights: according to which it’s your duty – even if you are utterly and determinedly ignorant on or unaffected by a given matter – to vote on that matter if it comes up on your jurisdiction’s ballot; and otherwise you have neither responsibilties nor rights to affect any public decision.

  3. Jan says

    I am also a fan of Robert Reich but I am not surprised that he refused to tell the whole truth about the $5 million dumped by Adelson into Gingrich’s campaign. When the horrible Newt called the Palestinians “an invented people,” Zionist Adelson pulled out his checkbook giving Newt what is likely the first down payment for Newt’s trashing of the Palestinians and for his udying allegiance to Israel.

    Perhaps if Adelson gives enough money to the vile Newt, this corrupt politician will agree to fly the Israeli flag over the White House and swear to wear an Israeli flag in his lapel.

    Reich, as far too many liberal Jews, will only go so far in telling the truth when it involves Israel. In this essay he has committed the sin of omission.

  4. says

    I’m a huge Robert Reich fan but this article disappoints me. Mr. Reich has fallen in line with corporate media’s refusal to publicly point to the Adelsons’ extreme Zionism and extreme financial support for Israel. I would have expected more from Mr. Reich.

    Of course he can’t state with certainty any promises between Gingrich and the Adelsons. But to avoid all mention of Adelson’s absolute devotion to a foreign country is derelict on Mr. Reich’s part.

    • Gary H says

      The Zionists will support Israel no matter what Israel does, even when Israeli interests are not in the interest of the USA. Campaign Obama proudly posts Pres. Obama’s support for Israel. What other country in the entire world receives this kind of uncritical support from the President of the US, or the Congress?

      Campaign: Pres. Obama expresses fidelity for Israel

      America and Israel: An Unbreakable Bond


      Uploaded by BarackObama dot com on Jan 19, 2012
      Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanayahu, and other leaders describe how President Obama has strengthened the relationship between the United States and Israel.

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