June 15th, 2012
01:00 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain slams Adelson's 'foreign money'

(CNN) – The influx of cash to the super PAC supporting Mitt Romney from billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson doesn't sit well with Sen. John McCain, a Romney supporter and longtime advocate of campaign finance reform.

The Arizona Republican said in an interview Thursday that Adelson, who reportedly with his wife dropped $10 million into the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future this week, was indirectly supplying the American campaign with foreign money.

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"Much of Mr. Adelson's casino profits that go to him come from this casino in Macau," McCain said in an interview on the PBS "NewsHour."

McCain continued, "Maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into American political campaigns."

Adelson is the chairman and CEO of the Sands Corporation, which owns three casinos in Macau along with multiple properties in Las Vegas. The Sands Macau opened in 2004, followed by the Venetian Macau in 2007 and the Four Seasons Hotel Macau in 2008.

Macau, an administrative region of the People's Republic of China, is known for attracting tourists from mainland China and other parts of Asia with large Vegas-style casinos, along with hotels and clubs.

One friend of Adelson's told CNN the charge by McCain is ridiculous.

"He is a corporate executive using his own wealth - not money skimmed from casinos," the friend told CNN, adding his wealth comes from many sources, as is the case with other CEOs. The friend asked his name not be used because of his dealings with various factions in the Republican Party.

McCain said profits from Adelson's Macau operation were substantial.

"That is a great deal of money. And, again, we need a level playing field and we need to go back to the realization that Teddy Roosevelt had that we have to have a limit on the flow of money, and that corporations are not people," McCain said.

The last line – that corporations are not people – makes for a contrast with Romney, who McCain endorsed in May and who uttered the line "corporations are people my friend" at the Iowa State Fair in August.

Romney was making the point that profits from corporations benefit the people who work at them, but Democrats and his then-rivals in the GOP took aim, portraying the candidate as out of touch.

Adelson, who previously supported the super PAC backing Newt Gingrich, recently donated $10 million to the group backing Romney, a source with knowledge of the donation told CNN. That would bring his family's total donations this election cycle to well in excess of $30 million, an enormous sum but a drop in the bucket for a man whose estimated worth is more than $24 billion.

- CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn contributed to this report

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Filed under: 2012 • Fundraising • John McCain
soundoff (44 Responses)

    John mccain has way more class than lurch romney the clown will ever have ,I bet john didn't sigh the crook lobbyist rover nitwitquest pledge like romnycare the clown did.

    June 15, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    ...BEND... wrote:

    McCain has lost his marbles and is becoming an embarrassment. People losing money in these casinos are NOT doing it to fund any US campaigns. You've gone off the deep end on your campaign financing BS Johnnie boy.
    You have missed the point. The overseas casinos are not American businesses. While they may be owned by an American, they are not American businesses paying taxes. McCain is talking about foreign businesses being able to dump millinos into our democratic process. What is to stop foreign nations, or our enemies, from taking similar actions? Nothing.

    June 15, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. Tony

    McCain is too late. Thanks to the Citizens United decision, people like Sheldon Adelson and Rupert Murdoch already own the Republican Party.

    June 15, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Woman In California

    A little late isn't it McCain to be "concerned" about foreign money pouring in? The time to speak out against this has long passed starting with the Citizens United decision. Hypocritical at best in every aspect.

    June 15, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    Senator McCain is too old for his party, Republicans wants to reduce deficit by
    Giving tax credit rich
    Freeze schools for years
    Freeze fire fighters for years
    Freeze Police department for years
    In future they will ask foreign government to sponsor our elections
    Republicans ready to sell us just protect rich

    June 15, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. anotherGDlefty

    Well Johnny, the Bishop doesn't seeem to care. The Bishops goal is a billion to buy the white house, that's right Grumpy Gramps billion with a B.

    These are your folks Johnny, soak in it.

    June 15, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. Brad

    While McCain is right, he's lost all public credibility as he desperately flip flopped on many issues when his home state Tea Party idiots threatened his reelection, and goes against campaign finance reform when it suits him ( like when he was running for president or when Abramof money was traced back to him ). McCain is a weasel.

    June 15, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. DrJStrangepork

    End PAC/SuperPACs and All campaign donations should be anonymous.

    June 15, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. Peace

    I hope the Supreme court will not mess up the Health Care Reform in their ruling the way the have done to the money which goes to the Election this year, Super PACs. If they will do, people will completely lose faith in them,

    June 15, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Mark

    It's money. To a republican that's all that matters. Where it comes from doesn't.

    June 15, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |

    He stabbed Mitt McCain in the back. Wait until August when the unhinged GOBP all shove their blades into Mitt.

    June 15, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. Rich

    We all know Romney is getting foreign money. So what is new. McCain is finally calling them out about it. Fest UP GOP and clean up your fraud and crooked campaign funding money.

    June 15, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. nilla

    What McCain doesn't realize is that no one cares how their favorite team wins, they just want them to win.

    June 15, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, NOT a third term of BUSH's years of FAILURE

    What do you expect from Mr Rmoney – a man without core.
    Rmoney can boast of billions dollar donations from corporations (people) and super PACs funded by foreign interests. None of those can vote!

    June 15, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. al in memphis

    McCain, what are you doing– you know there is no straying from the script. Especially if you are going to say things that make sense. If this keeps up, then we are going to lose people because they may actually start listen to the issues instead of the one liners we feed them in commercials.

    June 15, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. chuck weidemann

    Macau buys American President!!! See the headline...American frontman brokers deal...Romney bets $10,000.00 it means nothing and says prove it! Supreme Court says Ooops!!!

    June 15, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. bp

    Notice how McCain avoids any mention or criticism of the Supreme Court in his statements. Could it be because he voted for the justices who made Adelson's contributions possible?

    June 15, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. Jill

    I never thought I'd see the day that billionaires who make their money off gambling and casino operations would be influencing national elections with their ill gotten gains and in the back pocket of a presidential candidate. I am beyond sickened and sad, I just can't find the words to express how I feel!

    June 15, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. v_mag

    I thought everybody already knew that foreign money has flooded into our government and electoral process. Did Johnny just figure that one out? How many "American" corporations are owned strictly by Americans? Zero! They all have foreign investors, and those guys dictate how corporations spend their money.

    They also write legislation and present it to Congress for their rubber stamp. Corporations own the government and, through their revolving door, ARE the government. Corporate guys float into and out of public office. When Mitt touts his business experience, he's saying, "I'm a solid member of the ruling Corporate Class." We are all owned and run by corporations, many of whose owners are foreigners.

    There is no loyalty to the U.S. in any corporation, whether it is nominally American or not. In reality, they are all un-American.

    June 15, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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