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)
  1. teena

    eventually citizens united will be overturned and investigations following the money trils will begin–I really believe we willo find foreign investors to these super PACS who are attempting to control this country via the president!

    June 15, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. Laverne

    This is ALL the fault of the conservatives on the supreme court who are so partisan and wanted to open a door to make sure Barack Obama does not win a second term! President Obama said this would happen when Judge Robert infamously did a Joe Wilson. Obama was RIGHT and it has made our elections just like other countries and can't be trusted! The supreme court should be ashamed of themselves!

    June 15, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  3. g

    the whole republican machine is foreign owned including the fox news propaganda machine,

    June 15, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Myviewis

    I think it matters anymore after today's brilliant move by Obama letting 800,000 plus illegal immigrant youth stay in the country which just won him re-election. Very tricky move.

    June 15, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. mk1

    Well, let's see, he spent 10 million on Romney now and had spent around 25 million on Gingrich before. If anyone with half a brain does not realize who is controlling our electoral process by now, these numbers should be the wake up call. We the common citizens are getting screwed over and we sit back and let it happen.

    June 15, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. doc

    The surpreme court screwed up royaly on this one. For the life of me, I will never understand what they were thinking. This is out and out trying to buy the election. You can best believe that if a rich man is shelling out moneylike that, he expects something big in return. Look at it as an investment.

    June 15, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. anagram_kid

    Supreme Court appointments have consequences…

    The days of Republicans versus Democrats are coming to an end. Soon it will be Company A versus Company B versus Company C… truly believe that within a few years corporations will just be finding candidates (middle-aged, white protestant males with a full head of hair) to run for office to do their bidding. We can expect deregulation, no unions, low pay, poor benefits, more outsourcing, pollution, tort reform (so one cannot bring a lawsuit when the company’s pollution gives them cancer) and a much smaller and poorer middle class.

    June 15, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It's also called "dirty money" and Romney should return it or is this Newt Gingrich's way of setting Romney up after having failed to beat him with Adelson's money. I have to agree with McCain on this one; if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

    June 15, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    McCain continued, "Maybe in a roundabout way, foreign money is coming into American political campaigns."
    Are you the same guy who not too long ago turned around and voted to overturn the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform laws? You voted against your own bill a decade after you passed it, John. Are you not the same guy who spoke out against Pres. Obama's criticism of the SCOTUS over Citizen's United?

    Senator, you are becoming a worse flip-flopper than Mitt Romney. But, I can see through the long term strategy that Republicans are putting in to practice. The primary season saw the most extreme of the extremist voices rise to the top of the Republican party, including their own apparent nominee. Now they need to walk it back towards the center.

    Solution: Allow conservative voices that have been quiet throughout this entire process up until now, speak out in moderation. Let these voices sound like the adults in the room. When these candidates later endorse Mitt Romney, hopefully the illusion that Romney is a moderate will work. It should. People see moderate people making controversial, moderate remarks soundlike the voice of reason and rational thought. They will forget about Romney's extreme views and those of the entire party, once the moderate voices are allowed to the front. It just might work. There are a lot of stupid people in this country who like to told what to think by "experts" in their respective fields.

    June 15, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. mcskadittle

    This guy is out of control, but in this case – I like it

    June 15, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. vote the Tea Party Out in 2012

    this guy wants Obama out of office BIG TIME and says he will spend whatever it takes to do so. Yet according to Forbes during the Obama years so far he has made MORE money than ANYBODY, even more than Zucker from Facebook. SO go figure.........

    June 15, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    "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."
    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.

    June 15, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  13. cali girl

    Funny, for all you folks that says Obama is not for private sector or any blah blah
    This boy Adelson, get ready for it, made 26 BILLION dollars in the last 4 years under President Obama.
    And Adelson told a Las Vegas reporter that he is prepared to give up to 100 Million to the GOP Super Pacs.

    June 15, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Myviewis

    Why are we even continue to argue, this election is over, Obama just won by adding 800,000 plus illegal immigrant youth to his Vote. Obama is extremely good at trickery and knows how to win and he did it. Obama knows how to win like we've never seen before.

    June 15, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  15. Mike

    Quantum McCain strikes again – sometimes he makes sense and sometimes he's just completely off the deep end.

    At least this time he is making sense.

    June 15, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. judy

    the repo party is owned by coreign money. Surprised a good mormon bishop no less would take money coming from gambeling. Just goes to show ya. This super pac stuff needs to go for both sides. But Obama did say it was going to be a problem when it was inacted. Can't fault him for using the system repo judges put in place. Worst thing the supreme court has done to date.

    June 15, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. malcolm Spence

    It used to be elections were about ideas. Now they are about raising so much money you can drown out rational discussion with noise and misrepresentation.

    Take note America: Corporations are not people and money is not ideas.

    June 15, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. ted

    Romney is a moron and out of touch with reality and will say anything and do anything to get into the White House. On day one he will give people like Adelson more tax cuts and he will slash healthcare and unemployment benefits for the most needy people in America, Of course Romney doesn't know anything about all that because he is unemployed but provides his own healthcare and expenses.

    June 15, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. judy

    my views stick your views where the sun don't shine. WE are loosing smart young people that have a lot to contribute because of current laws. These kids want to be citizens and should not be held accountable for what their parents did. Forward. Unless your native American you came from somewhere else too. .

    June 15, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. Boo

    I can't believe I agree with John McCain on something. He's right about this.

    June 15, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  21. raprap

    Thanks John. In spite of times when you come off the wall supporting your party you can't resist telling it like it is. Even when I don't agree with you that kind of conviction is what is so lacking in the current republican candidate for President. Hopefully when Obama is reelected and McConnel's stupid comment about his whole goal was to make Obama a one term President is no longer relevant the partys can work together to help solve our country's problems for all citizens. Good luck & good health.

    June 15, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Indie in VA

    Citizen's United MUST be overturned. Money does not equal freedom of speech. Corporations are not people. Talk about Common Sense (2012 version). This is just silly.

    June 15, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Hindsight 20/20

    Adelson isn't the only 1 percenter supporting regular joe Romney. Romney can definitely relate to the middle class. I mean which middle class American doesn't have a multi-million dollar beach front home or car elevators? Romney 2012

    June 15, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. c

    McCain is funny. Foreign companies come here, buy businesses, pay taxes, pay McCain's salary indirectly. So he is paid by 'foreign' money. No one is going to fix campaign finance – because those who can make a difference are the most negatively impacted by it.

    June 15, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. California Gary

    What do you know.......once in awhile McCain shows that he still retains a sliver of integrity. I don't know how it could be any more obvious that the GOP and their hard right supporters are trying to buy a presidency. If they succeed, then the average person will no longer have a say in our government. We will be much like the "puppet" governments elswhere in the world.

    June 15, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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