It would also be a sweet jackpot for the Adelsons, who are the biggest patrons of Gingrich’s political career.
Perhaps no other major presidential candidate in recent times has had his fortunes based so squarely on the contributions of a single donor, as Gingrich has on Adelson, who has spent millions in support of Gingrich and his causes over the past five years. In a primary season dominated by the mega-spending of super PACs, Adelson’s efforts on Gingrich’s behalf provide a window into the expanding influence of the super-rich on American politics.
After putting up the seed money and ultimately $7.7 million between 2006 and 2010 for a nonprofit group that served as a precursor to Gingrich’s presidential campaign, Adelson, 78, an irascible Las Vegas billionaire, doubled down this month, giving $5 million to a political action committee run by former close aides to Gingrich.
“My motivation for helping Newt is simple and should not be mistaken for anything other than the fact that my wife Miriam and I hold our friendship with him very dear and are doing what we can as private citizens to support his candidacy,” Adelson, who is listed by Forbes as the eighth-wealthiest American, with a net worth of $21.5 billion, said in a prepared statement e-mailed to The Washington Post. He declined interview requests.
The most recent donation to Winning Our Future, a Gingrich-linked super PAC, fueled Gingrich’s resurgence before Saturday’s primary in South Carolina and bankrolled ads and a half-hour film painting rival Mitt Romney as a job-killing corporate raider. Adelson told associates that he will consider more donations if Gingrich fares well Saturday.
For Gingrich, the check links him even more closely to Adelson (pronounced ADD-el-son), an outspoken businessman known for aggressive tactics. His net worth has increased at least ninefold in the last decade. (The FBI and Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating his company, Las Vegas Sands, in connection with allegations that Adelson ordered an executive to bribe Chinese officials by putting them on the payroll. Adelson and company officials deny the allegations, which they say were first made by a disgruntled former employee.)
Adelson said the check to Gingrich was about fidelity. “Our means of support might be more than others are able to offer,” he said, “but like most Americans, words such as friendship and loyalty still mean something to us.”
Friends said Adelson and Gingrich share views on Israel, labor and free enterprise. In December, when Gingrich was riding atop the national GOP polls, Adelson was delighted.