CREDIT: AP Photo/Kin Cheung
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, casino billionaire and Republican überdonor Sheldon Adelson’s net worth increased by $2.1 billion, largely due to a spike in the value of his company’s stock and a divided payout. The next day, the Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision that effectively legalized various money laundering schemes donors like Adelson can use to shunt millions of dollars to Republican candidates and party organizations.
The $2.1 billion Adelson gained over just two days is more than four times the total amount of money former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney spent in his unsuccessful bid for the White House in 2012. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Romney spent a total of $433,281,516 in 2012, meaning that Adelson earned enough money on Monday and Tuesday of this week to fund the Romney campaign four times over — and still have more than $366 million left for a rainy day fund.
Adelson’s total net worth, according to Forbes, is $40 billion. That’s enough money to give a million dollars to every single Republican House and Senate candidate in every single election cycle for the next 170 years. Indeed, in 2012, ThinkProgress calculated that Adelson’s net worth exceeded the combined gross domestic product of nearly two dozen nations put together. That, however, was back when Adelson’s total fortune was only a paltry $25 billion.
In fairness, if Adelson wanted to give over $400 million to help put a Republican in the White House, the money laundering schemes legalized by Wednesday’s decision in McCutcheon v. FEC probably would only allow him to funnel a fraction of that money directly to the Republican candidate. The bulk of this cash would likely be funneled through super PACs and similar organizations. In the 2012 election, Adelson spent about $150 million seeking to influence elections.
A single billionaire spending hundreds of millions of dollars to place Republican candidates in office, according to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, does “not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”