DCCC apologizes to Adelson

Democratic campaign officials apologized on Thursday to Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who has been spending millions of dollars to help elect Republican candidates for federal office.


American businessman Sheldon Adelson, who has said he will donate millions to Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign, is seated before Romney delivers a speech in Jerusalem, Sunday, July 29, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The DCCC had seized on an Associated Press report indicating that a former executive at the Las Vegas Sands Corporation in China alleged in legal documents that Adelson was aware of prostitution at the casino’s location in Macau. Adelson is CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation.  “What will Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor and House Republicans do with their Chinese prostitution money?” the DCCC had asked on its website, according to ABC News. The taunt was referring to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader.

Adelson pushed back, threatening legal action against the committee for perpetuating what his attorneys called defamatory statements “falsely accusing Mr. Adelson of encouraging and profiting from prostitution,” according to ABC.

Adelson helped keep Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign afloat earlier this year by infusing a super PAC supporting his candidacy with millions of dollars. Since Gingrich’s bid ended, Adelson has provided significant support to groups groups working to elect Republican congressional candidates

Thursday’s retraction is a public relations victory for Adelson, who along with the billionaire Koch brothers — also conservatives — have been strongly criticized by Democrats for their immense financial influence on electoral politics this cycle.

"We are gratified that the DCCC has acknowledged its error," Ron Reese, a spokesman for Adelson said in a statement Thursday, in response to the DCCC's apology. "More broadly, this should serve notice to those who would attempt to smear Mr. Adelson by repeating the false and inflammatory statements of a fired employee - that this is a very slippery slope."

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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