Wednesday January 28,2015 : ADELSON IN WASHINGTON VISIT FOR POLITICAL BRIEFINGS
Land casino magnate spent over $90 million last year to help Republicans win in Congress.
One of the Republican Party's biggest cash donors, land casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, was in Washington DC earlier this month for briefings by the politicians, illustrating once again how influential big money is in US politics.
The publication Town Hall reports that the private briefing was with Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee and concerned Adelson's well-known desire to have online gambling banned through the Restoration of the American Wire Act.
Town Hall sources familiar with Adelson's lobbying described the meeting as both a strategy session and an update for the gambling mogul. A house aide denied the briefing was officially organised or coordinated through the committee itself.
Approached for comment, members of the Judicary Committee at the briefing were "guarded" in their responses.
Town Hall observes that the congressmen attending the briefing in effect have formed a rump committee outside the regular order and hidden from public scrutiny.
Reports suggest that Adelson donated over $90 million to politicians last year.
Adelson is also understood to have spent significant amounts of money in 2014 in his pursuit of an online gambling ban through his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling.
Town Hall suggests that the Adelson initiative has split politicians into four camps: those seeing his interference as a political risk; those who have no issue with online gambling as an individual choice using legal and disposable income; those who are concerned about 10th Amendment federal interference in what should be individual state decisions; and those who agree with Adelson and are prepared to do his bidding.
Adelson's principal allies in pushing the Restoration of the American Wire Act in the House and the Senate are Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Sen. Lindsey Graham, both of whom are in influential positions in Congress this year.
Chaffetz is chairman of the powerful Government Oversight and Reform Committee and sits on the House Judiciary Committee, and Graham is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and widely seen as a possible presidential candidate.
In the new session, two of Adelson's key allies, Rep. Jason E. Chaffetz (R.-Utah) and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R.-S.C.), and the lead sponsors of the restoration bill have returned to Washington stronger than before.
However, there are Republicans who regardless of Adelson's largesse are prepared to make a stand on states' rights, making for a very interesting year in Congress ahead.