Washington (CNN) – Facing the threat of a lawsuit from Nevada billionaire and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, an apology and a retraction was issued Thursday evening by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
The DCCC said in its retraction:
"In press statements issued on June 29 and July 2, 2012, the DCCC made unsubstantiated allegations that attacked Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of the opposing party. This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair and we retract them. The DCCC extends its sincere apology to Mr. Adelson and his family for any injury we have caused."
Adelson's lawyer had previously sent a letter to the DCCC – obtained by CNN at the time – calling libel statements the organization made that tied the magnate to a "'Prostitution Strategy' in China."
The letter sent by Adelson's lawyer, Lewis R. Clayton, to DCCC press secretary Jesse Ferguson accused the Democratic House fundraising arm of "maliciously branding Mr. Adelson as a pimp who has given 'Chinese prostitution money' to your political opponents."
In June the Associated Press reported Adelson approved and was aware of prostitution at his company's properties in Macau, a story cited by Adelson's attorney. Although a Las Vegas Sands spokesman and attorney for the company denied the allegations, made in court documents by a former chief executive fired from the Macau casino, the DCCC jumped on the report.
"Breaking: House Republicans' Biggest Donor Approved 'Prostitution Strategy' in China" was the headline of a June 29 statement from the DCCC, and a July 2 statement asked what House Republicans will do when their "Chinese prostitution money comes from billionaire Sheldon Adelson."
Politifact, an independent fact check organization, delivered a "Pants on Fire" for the DCCC point that recipients of Adelson donations were receiving dirty money, a fact seized upon in the attorney letter.
"As you and the DCCC surely knew when you spoke, the charges you made are outrageous and completely untrue," Clayton wrote in the letter. "Mr. Adelson does not tolerate prostitution – let alone, as you have said, make money from it. The fact is that Mr. Adelson has consistently objected to and maintained a strong policy against prostitution, a commitment that extends to his personal life."
Reacting to the DCCC action, the Sands Corporation said in a statement:
"We are gratified that the DCCC has acknowledged it error. More broadly, this should serve notice to those who would attempt to smear Mr. Adelson by repeating the false and inflammatory statements of a fired employee – that this is a very slippery slope."
Reacting to the DCCC action the Sands Corporation said in a statement:
"We are gratified that the DCCC has acknowledged its error. More broadly, this should serve notice to those who would attempt to smear Mr. Adelson by repeating the false and inflammatory statements of a fired employee – that this is a very slippery slope."
– CNN's Kevin Bohn, Jessica Yellin and Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.