The 2008 Republican nominee, John McCain, said recently he was concerned about the flow of Adelson money into the contest.
Yet Adelson is not a household name, or anything like it. He hasn't been the focus of sustained derision and villification by the left, the way George Soros has been on the right (or, for the matter, the way the Koch brothers have been on the left).
This, despite the fact that Adelson is involved in some seriously questionable-looking business abroad: The investigation he faces is for potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits U.S. companies from using payments to influence foreign officials in ways that might benefit the company’s business. In a nutshell, Adelson is accused of directing senior members of his company to pay a lawmaker in the Chinese territory of Macau, to help remove legal and other obstacles blocking the company’s real estate transactions.
(In a rare, officially sanctioned direct attack earlier in the year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called on one Republican congressman to return “Chinese prostitution money” he received from Adelson, but swiftly retracted the attack and issued an abject apology, after receiving a letter from the billionaire’s attorney.)
Meanwhile, Adelson has spent far more money to influence this presidential election than anyone in the nation, having already written checks for at least $36 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This includes $15 million to bankroll Newt Gingrich’s super PAC in the Republican primary, and $10 million to Romney’s super PAC.
In addition to super PACs, Adelson has said he would also donate to nonprofits not required to disclose his contributions, making his overall largesse difficult to measure. But he has reportedly told friends he would spend up to $100 million during this cycle to get Romney and favored congressional candidates elected.
He has a large interest in the outcome of the election, and not just in terms of tax breaks.
For one thing, Adelson has significant financial interest in China and is pushing Romney to fight to raise the value of the Chinese yuan against the dollar. His scheme reportedly works like this: When Chinese gamblers pour into Adelson’s casinos in Macau, they’re likely to play with the same amount of currency regardless of exchange rates, and if the yuan were higher against the dollar, they’d effectively be spending more in U.S. currency. Romney supports this policy.
For another, Adelson strongly opposes a proposed two-state solution in the Middle East, and has called the prime minister of Palestine a terrorist. Romney, as it turns out, has echoed some of Adelson’s views of Palestine in recent weeks.
So why haven't the Democrats done more to train attention on Adelson and his ties to Romney?