GOP Mega-Donor Spent $150M on Election

by InvestorPlace Staff | December 5, 2012 11:05 am

[1]Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson laid down a very expensive bet on the Republican party during the 2012 election: $150 million[2].

This outpaced many estimates and even Adelson’s initially stated goal of spending $100 million in the hopes of defeating Barack Obama and gaining control of both the House and Senate.

Interestingly enough, Adelson only reported $54 million in donations to the Federal Election Commission. Where did the other $96 million go? To political nonprofits[3] who do not have to reveal their donors. These include an estimated $30-40 million to Crossroads GPS and about $15 million to groups aligned with the Koch brothers.

Adelson’s $150 million was more than all of Mitt Romney’s primary opponents combined. Yet for all his generosity, most of his donations fell flat. Adelson targeted nine races with $42 million in officially reported donations. Only one of those turned out the way he wanted, including losses by Newt Gingrich in the primaries, Mitt Romney in the presidential election, and Florida Rep. Allen West.

Despite his massive spending on behalf of the GOP, Adelson said that he is a social liberal at heart[4]. He supports stem-cell research and the DREAM Act and is pro-choice. He used to be a Democrat up until the 1988 election, when he attended the Democratic National Convention and was disgusted by the self-interest politicians there showed. He said when he attended the 1992 Republican National Convention, he found people there were more interested in helping the country than what they’d get out of the presidential election.

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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