The GOP Courtship of Sheldon Adelson
The New York Times today has a lovely look at yet another wonderful byproduct of our bright new age of campaign finance. The party of Christian values and self-reliance and personal responsibility gathered its elite to pay homage to creepy old gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson, who can personally finance an entire presidential campaign from his vast treasury of sin-laden cash.
Mr. Adelson’s effort officially kicked off on Wednesday, when lawmakers, including a senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has accepted tens of thousands of dollars in donations from the businessman and his family, introduced legislation originally drafted with Mr. Adelson’s lobbyist. The bill would close a three-year-old loophole in federal law by banning online gambling - a growing industry that Mr. Adelson argues is bad for casinos and gamblers - and shutting down online gambling in a handful states that recently legalized it. The dispute has already largely sidelined the industry’s powerful trade group, the American Gaming Association, after Mr. Adelson threatened to withdraw from the organization if it continued to back expanded online gambling, according to several industry executives.
So much of the money primary in the 2016 Republican primary nomination fight is being conducted on the Planet Of The UltraGreedheads. That’s wonderful just on its own, but get a load of the very conservatives folks who are lining up to kiss ol’ Shel’s, ah, ring.
Mr. Adelson’s political prominence will be on display Thursday in Las Vegas at the start of the four-day meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition - an event that has attracted several 2016 presidential prospects, including Jeb Bush, a former governor of Florida; Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey; Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin; and Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio. Mr. Adelson, whose $38 billion fortune makes him among the richest men in the world, poured roughly $100 million into Republican campaigns in 2012, and he is known for pushing ideological fights in Washington. The battle over online gambling shows how he also lobbies for his business.