Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R), whose 2012 presidential bid was boosted by $15 million spent by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, on Friday decried the outsize influence that the wealthy have on the political process.
The answer? Candidates should be able to raise the kind of massive sums that super PACs can, Gingrich told the National Journal.
The former speaker made the remarks in response to a question about the number of potential 2016 candidates who are in Las Vegas this week to meet with Adelson during a multi-day conclave held by the Republican Jewish Coalition.
"Whether it's the Koch brothers or [George] Soros on the left or Sheldon," Gingrich said, "if you're going to have an election process that radically favors billionaires and is discriminating against the middle class—which we now have—then billionaires are going to get a lot of attention."
"The truth is, we desperately need an election reform which allows candidates to receive the same amount of money as super PACs,” he added.
Gingrich’s comments came several days after the Washington Post reported that Adelson’s 2012 experience convinced him of the need to back a GOP candidate in 2016 with more mainstream appeal, with a better chance of winning the White House.
Gingrich did not respond to e-mails from the Post earlier this week soliciting his reaction.
"Sheldon's a generous guy and he can attract a lot of players who want to come and hang out with him, and then they collectively attract a number of potential candidates,” he told the National Journal.