WASHINGTON (JTA) — Jewish Democrats called on Mitt Romney and Republicans not to accept money from Sheldon Adelson because of allegations that the casino magnate approved of prostitution at his China properties.
"This week, reports surfaced that in addition to his anti-union and allegedly corrupt business practices, Adelson ‘personally approved’ of prostitution in his Macau casinos," David Harris, the president of the National Jewish Democratic Council, wrote in an appeal to NJDC supporters to sign on to a petition making the call. "Given these reports, Romney and the rest of the Republican Party must cease accepting Adelson’s tainted money immediately."
Matt Brooks, the director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said the call was "disgusting" because it was based on allegations in a lawsuit filed by Steven Jacobs, a casino executive who was fired by Adelson in 2010.
"Setting aside their partisan agenda, the NJDC should be ashamed of itself for attacking someone who has done more for the Jewish community and Jewish philanthropy than anyone in recent history," Brooks said, citing Adelson’s major contributions to the Birthright Israel program, which brings Jewish youth to Israel, and to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial museum.
"If this is proven to be nothing more than rantings of an employee in legal battle, NJDC is going to have a lot of egg on its face," Brooks said. "If they were truly mensches about it, they would wait unitl it is adjudicated."
Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have given tens of millions of dollars this year to political committees supporting Republicans in general and Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, in particular, although it is not clear if he has directly given to Romney.
He is also a major funder of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Adelson has clashed repeatedly with unions at his Las Vegas properties. Earlier this year it was reported that federal authorities are investigating allegations that he bribed Chinese officials to advance his interests there.