According to publicly available campaign finance data, Sheldon Adelson – the conservative, Zionist, casino billionaire –is now the biggest spender on federal elections in all of American politics. Adelson, who was the top donor to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Republican Party in 2016, has cemented his role as the top political donor in the country after giving $55 million in recent months to Republicans in an effort to help the party keep its majority in both houses of Congress.
Adelson’s willingness to help the GOP stay in power is likely born out of his desire to protect the massive investment he placed in the party last election cycle. In 2016, the Republican mega-donor gave heavily to the Trump campaign and Republicans, donating $35 million to the former and $55 million to the top two Republican Super PACs — the Congressional Leadership Fund and the Senate Leadership Fund — during that election cycle.
Adelson’s decision to again donate tens of millions of dollars to Republican efforts to stay in power is a direct consequence of how successfully Adelson has been able to influence U.S. policy since Trump and the GOP rode to victory in the last election cycle.
A New York Times article on Adelson, titled “Sheldon Adelson Sees a Lot to Like in Trump’s Washington,” notes that Adelson “enjoys a direct line to the president.” Furthermore, Adelson and Trump regularly meet once a month “in private in-person meetings and phone conversations” that Adelson has used to push major changes to U.S. policy that Trump has made reality — such as moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and cutting aid to Palestinian refugees, among others.
Adelson’s new title as the top spender in all U.S. elections shows that he, along with his wife, is willing to spend big to keep that direct line open in the months and years ahead. Citing sources close to the Adelsons, the Times writes that the Adelsons’ massive expenditures in federal elections this cycle are being made because he and his wife believe that “Republican control of the House and the Senate is so vital to maintaining these [right-wing and pro-Zionist] policies” and their influence in Washington and at the White House.
“Pleased as punch”
The fact that Adelson is “pleased-as-punch” with Trump’s performance as president should hardly come as a surprise, given that the president has fulfilled his campaign promises that were of prime importance to Adelson, while many of his other campaign promises – namely those that were populist or anti-war in nature – have rung hollow.
These Adelson-promoted policies include the moving of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which Adelson had aggressively promoted and even helped to finance, as well as removing the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal. Another recent policy move bearing Adelson’s fingerprints is the U.S. decision to withdraw its funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), as Adelson once infamously stated that “there’s no such thing as a Palestinian.”
As previously mentioned, The New York Times recently noted that the cutting of aid to Palestinians, the U.S.’ removal from JCPOA, and the Jerusalem embassy move all resulted from private in-person meetings and phone conversations between Adelson and Trump.