The $10 Million Question: Will Gingrich Meet Adelson?
February 3rd, 2012
03:14 PM ET
2 years ago

The $10 Million Question: Will Gingrich Meet Adelson?

Washington (CNN) - You may be able to call him Newt Gingrich's savior. Many political experts say without his help Gingrich's campaign would not be alive today. Multi-billionaire, Nevada casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, each donated $5 million at different crucial periods last month to the super PAC supporting Gingrich's bid, Winning Our Future.

The contribution by Adelson came at a critical time allowing the super PAC to go on the air with millions of dollars of ads in South Carolina attacking Mitt Romney's record as head of Bain Capital fueling questions about the former Massachusetts governor. Mrs. Adelson's donation gave the super PAC the needed funds to go on the air in Florida with millions of dollars of ads and helping to somewhat dent the huge financial advantage Romney and his allies had in the Sunshine State. Still, Gingrich and his super PAC were outspent by about 5-1 in Florida.

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But Adelson and his family's recent help have also stirred some controversy with some Republican activists thinking the generous aid is helping to lengthen the primary contest and divide the party.

So far it is not known whether he or his family will pony up any more money to support Gingrich. Counting contributions from two of Adelson's step daughters and a son-in-law the family is responsible for $11 million for the super PAC.

Adelson became friends with Gingrich when he was House speaker in the 1990's. They both share an interest in supporting Israel. Adelson previously gave $7.7 million to American Solutions for Winning the Future, a think tank founded by Gingrich after he left Congress.

So wouldn't it be natural for the two to meet this week while Gingrich is campaigning in Nevada?

So far they haven't. Gingrich is staying in one of the hotels owned by Adelson during his Nevada trip.

Some Nevada GOP insiders said they would assume the two would get together sometime, but time is running out. A spokesman for Adelson refused comment on whether a meeting will happen. A spokesman for Gingrich didn't respond to a request for comment.

One complication is that the super PAC and its supporters cannot legally coordinate activities with a campaign so if the two do see each other they would not be able to discuss Adelson's contributions.

Adelson is also trying to distance himself from a separate controversy surrounding a special evening caucus being held Saturday night.

Some orthodox Jewish Republicans had said they could not participate in a caucus meeting being held during the day on Saturday because they cannot drive and are not supposed to take part in non-religious activities. Adelson, through a spokesman, tried to tamp down questions by issuing a statement this week saying he did not push for the special caucus and is in fact not orthodox although he is Jewish. The evening caucus is being held at a school bearing his name and to which he has donated, but his spokesman said Adelson was not involved in deciding the location.

Since 1990, Adelson has given $10.5 million in political contributions. While he has donated some to Democrats, most of his money has gone to Republicans, including President George W. Bush, Sen. John McCain and Nevada candidates Dean Heller, Sue Lowden and Joe Heck.

- CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon contributed to this story.

You can follow Kevin Bohn on Twitter @KevinBohnCNN.


Filed under: 2012 • Nevada • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    Are they going to meet, what a silly question. Of course they will and probably have already, Newt is staying at one of Adelson's hotels. I'm sure they won't meet in public but if you think that Adelson can't get in and out of his own hotels unnoticed, you're dreaming. They could meet all night and no one would know. However, at this point Adelson might be wondering how he could get his money back.

    February 3, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Since Newt already sold his soul years ago, what exactly is Adelson buying here?

    February 3, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. carrotroot

    I don't think he can meet because that could potentially be seen as Newt coordinating with the people who are financing his SuperPAC. But then again Newt is a pretty corrupt guy who doesn't think the rules apply to him.

    February 3, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  4. tim12

    i dont like a candidate's chief money coming froma gambler.

    February 3, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  5. Jamie from Riverside

    Hey @SilenceDoGood
    I think Newt has exposed plenty without my help.
    This is the same big baby who shut down the government in the 90's simply becuase Bill Clinton made his ride in the back of Air Force 1.

    February 3, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
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