GOP Billionaire Casino Mogul Sheldon Adelson To Keep Future Political Spending Secret

Sheldon Adelson

Sheldon Adelson (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Casino billionaire and right-wing activist Sheldon Adelson has already given at least $10 million to Republican-Allied Super PACs so far this cycle… and he plans to make at least one more Super PAC donation. But, he told Las Vegas Sun political reporter Jon Ralston, after that he plans to keep his massive political spending secret.

Ralston writes:

“I’m going to give one more small donation – you might not think it’s that small – to a SuperPAC and then if I give it will be to a c4,” a reference to 501c4 nonprofits, which are tax-exempt and also exempt from disclosures. I opined that surely meant Crossroads, which would allow him to indirectly help Mitt Romney and Sen. Dean Heller [R-NV], who is running against Rep. Shelley Berkley [D-NV]. Berkley used to work for Adelson, but they had a falling out in the mid-1990s and he surely would love to see her lose.

Do you know how many c4s there are?” Adelson retorted, as if to try to indicate he had more choices than Crossroads. Indeed. But I can’t think of too many that will influence who controls the White House and the U.S. Senate. And did he telegraph where his money is going with the Rove comments? I think so.

Adelson also declined to tell Ralston which Super PAC he intended to support with that final “small donation.”

The casino mogul seemingly conceded that he didn’t want his future political “speech” to be transparent because voters might take that information into consideration when evaluating his message.

Adelson said he believed the media’s inevitable use of the phrase “casino mogul” whenever his donations became public “is not helpful to the person .”

So, thanks to the Supreme Court’s stream of rulings against political spending limits and the unwillingness of the Republicans in Congress and on the Federal Election Commission to even mandate disclosure of independent political ad funders, billionaires like Adelson can simply hide their massive donations through (c)(4)s when they get tired of the media and public scrutiny. And rather than letting the voters decide how much credibility to give an ad bankrolled entirely by an anti-union gambling magnate — he can just choose to keep them in the dark.

While Ralston seems convinced Adelson’s support will go to Karl Rove’s secretive Crossroads GPS, the most famous right-wing (c)(4), the truth is he and we have no idea. Adelson could give the money to former Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R-MN) American Action Network. Or to the Koch Brother’s Americans for Prosperity. Or some totally unknown 501(c)(4)s that could be collecting hundreds of millions of dollars without any footprint, waiting to pounce with a barrage of shady attack ads. Or, given his billions, all of those.