Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson announced his intention on Friday to give $10 million to political action committees controlled by Charles and David Koch who in turn are themselves giving substantial sums to unseat President Obama and turn control of the Senate back to the Republican Party.
Earlier this year, Adelson, the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation which owns and operates the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center, and who is reputedly worth $25 billion, attended a Koch brothers-sponsored gathering of super-wealthy conservatives in Palm Springs, and after listening to the action plans and strategies to influence the November elections, decided to support their efforts.
Adelson’s intentions are to give upwards of $100 million in support of conservative causes. He explained:
What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we’ve been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people’s lives. What scares me is the lack of accountability that people would prefer to experience, just let the government take care of everything.
This is music to the ears of the Koch brothers, who have been providing support for conservative causes for years, starting with their father’s establishment of the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation in 1953. The senior Koch was an early member of The John Birch Society and noted in a speech in 1963 his concern about “a takeover” of the United States government by communists who would “infiltrate the highest offices of government in the U.S. until the president is a Communist, unknown to the rest of us.”
In a lengthy and controversial “exposé” of the Koch brothers in a New Yorker magazine article entitled “Covert Operations” in 2010, Jane Mayer interviewed Rob Stein, a Democrat party political operative who has studied the conservative movement’s finances for years. Said Stein, the Kochs:
are at the epicenter of the anti-Obama movement. But it’s not just about Obama. They would have done the same to Hillary Clinton [if she were president]. They did the same with Bill Clinton. They are out to destroy progressivism.
The Kochs’ conservative causes are spread across a large number of activist organizations and think-tanks, including support for the Cato Institute (initial contributors) and Americans for Prosperity (AFP). They also support the Federalist Society, the Mercatus Center, the Institute for Humane Studies, the Institute for Justice, the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Reason Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute, among others.
In addition to their stated intent to provide $400 million in support to conservative causes during this election cycle, the Kochs are also considering providing financial support for a voter database project called Themis which played a major role in the recent Wisconsin recall efforts.
In addition to contributions by Adelson and the Kochs, organizations founded by GOP operatives Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie are raising another $300 million, while the Republican Party and the Romney campaign are planning on raising $800 million. That puts the amount Republicans expect to spend at more than $1 billion, and it could be significantly more as the election heats up. As Mike Allen noted in Politico:
The Republican financial plans are unlike anything seen before in American politics. If the GOP groups hit their targets, they likely could outspend their liberal adversaries by at least two-to-one…
Photos: David Koch (left) executive vice president of Koch Industries: AP Images; Sheldon Adelson, CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation