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Freedom’s Watch closing

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — Freedom’s Watch, the pro-Republican advocacy group founded by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, reportedly is shutting down.

The Washington Times reported this week that the group, which attempted to swing votes to the Republican Party in the last election, is down from 50 staffers to two employees who are closing down the organization.

Adelson, a casino magnate and a major contributor to Birthright Israel, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Yad Vashem, the Republican Jewish Coalition and other groups, bankrolled the group launched in 2007 as a counterweight to pro-Democratic grass-roots groups such as MoveOn.org. The Freedom’s Watch board was drawn almost entirely from RJC professional and lay leaders.

At its inception, Freedom’s Watch focused on defending the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war. Late last year it expanded its goal to helping Republicans win congressional races.

Adelson’s businesses have been hit hard recently by the financial crisis and he has scaled back much of his charitable giving. His Las Vegas Sands Corp. has lost 95 percent of its stock value, the Times reported.

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