01/08/2012 : Sheldon Adelson has given $5 million to an independent committee supporting GOP presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich.
The billionaire owner of the Las Vegas Sands land gambling group, and opponent of online gambling legalization in the United States, Sheldon Adelson, has donated $5 million to an independent committee supporting GOP presidential aspirant Newt Gingrich, reports the Washington DC publication Politico.
With 2012 a key presidential election year, it is expected that many such donations will flow from wealthy and influential Americans and companies into the coffers of independent political funding groups known as Super PACs.
The Adelson check was delivered Friday to Winning Our Future, a group run by former Gingrich associates, according to two people close to the donor.
The informant told Politico that the billionaire planned to spend at least another $5 million during the campaign — either to the Gingrich-linked group or to the winner of the Republican nomination for president — and that the initial check was intended to keep Gingrich competitive in the January 21 South Carolina primary.
Official Adelson and Winning Our Future spokesmen declined to comment; legally the Gingrich campaign is not supposed to be notified of such donations because the PAC is an independent entity.
Until the past week, Gingrich had been leading in polls in South Carolina, but the most recent surveys have put former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney ahead.
Adelson is worth more than $21 billion, according to Forbes magazine, with most of the Las Vegas Sands operating profit flowing from Asia, with casinos in Singapore and Macau, China.
Increasingly, Super PACs have played a crucial role in this election year, Politico reports. Campaign finance specialists have criticised the groups as launching a new flood of secret and unlimited cash. Most of them file reports disclosing donors monthly and some file quarterly. The next reporting deadline for most will be after the primaries in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.