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What Adelson will give, and what he wants

Just how much is Sheldon Adelson willing to spend to beat President Obama? Forbes magazine suggests it could be as much as $100 million. Forbes reports:

Forbes has confirmed that billionaire Sheldon Adelson, along with his wife Miriam, has donated $10 million to the leading Super PAC supporting presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney–and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A well-placed source in the Adelson camp with direct knowledge of the casino billionaire’s thinking says that further donations will be “limitless.”

Adelson, who has built Las Vegas Sands into an global casino empire, will do “whatever it takes” to defeat Obama, this source says. And given that Adelson is worth $24.9  billion–and told Forbes in a recent rare interview about his political giving that he had been willing to donate as much as $100 million to his initial presidential preference, Newt Gingrich–that “limitless” description telegraphs potential nine-digit support of Romney.

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Adelson, this source continues, believes that “no price is too high” to protect the U.S. from what he sees as Obama’s “socialization” of America, as well as securing the safety of Israel. He added that Adelson, 78, considers this to be the most important election of his lifetime.

Adelson previously told the Forbes reporter that he is “against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections. But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades.”

And what does Adelson want from Mitt Romney? The Daily Beast reports on a couple of Adelson’s apparent “asks” (to which Romney apparently has not acceded):

Casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, a major contributor to Mitt Romney’s election effort, is pressing the Republican nominee to come out for the release of Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, a major Republican donor and associates of Adelson and Romney tell The Daily Beast.

Romney has rejected the request so far, telling Adelson he would have to review the relevant intelligence material accessible to him as president before granting Pollard clemency, said the sources, who are relaying accounts of conversations from both Adelson and Romney. Romney “could not consider the Pollard situation because he doesn’t have access to the classified information,” one source said.

The issue is apparently one of a handful where Romney differs from Adelson on Israel. The billionaire has also asked Romney to state publicly that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are a waste of time because the Palestinians are unwilling to make peace, according to the sources—and he wants a firmer commitment from Romney to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in what would be a de facto recognition of Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. For his part, Romney has not said peace talks are a waste of time and has gone only partway on the embassy question, saying he would undertake the move in consultation with the Israeli government—a campaign promise other presidents have made. (Adelson has pressed Romney to pledge to move the embassy without consulting the Israeli government.)

Open Zion blogger Hannah Gross sees in Romney’s apparent reluctance to endorse Pollard’s release a willingness o nthe part of the GOP candidate to put some “daylight” between himself and a key backer.

In other Adelson news: The Wall Street Journal reported that federal authorities are investigating whether Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. and several of its executives “violated money-laundering laws by failing to alert authorities to millions of dollars transferred to its casinos by two Las Vegas high rollers.” According to the paper, there is no indication that Adelson himself is a target of the probe.
 

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