Steven Bertoni

Steven Bertoni, Forbes Staff

I edit Forbes’ front of the book; cover tech and billionaires.

6/13/2012 @ 9:44PM |47,160 views

Exclusive: Adelson's Pro-Romney Donations Will Be 'Limitless,' Could Top $100M

Sheldon Adelson (Jared McMillen for Forbes)

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.

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.

In an interview with me in February, Adelson said that he’d likely shift his financial support to the Republican front-runner if Gingrich dropped out of the race–which he did in May. Now Romney is positioned to reap Adelson’s largess. Thanks to the Citizens United decision, there are no curbs on how much Adelson could give the pro-Romney Super PAC, Restoring Our Future. Given that he’s one of the 15 richest people in the world, the Sands chairman could personally bankroll the equivalent of entire presidential campaign–say, $1 billion or so–and not even notice. (The $10 million donation he just made to Romney is equivalent to $40 for an American family with a net worth of $100,000.)

Adelson, ironically, has made more money during the Obama administration than just about any other American, based on Forbes tabulations. He had previously told me that just because he made money under Obama, it doesn’t mean he thinks the president is doing the right thing.

Does Adelson feel guilty about one American potentially steering the fate of the presidential election? “I’m against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections,” Adelson told me in February. “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 they stay below the radar by creating a network of corporations to funnel their money. I have my own philosophy and I’m not ashamed of it.”

Adelson is an Israel hawk who has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Jewish causes. He also is also fiercely fighting against what he sees as Obama’s socialization of America. As he explained to me this winter:

“What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we’ve been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people’s lives. What scares me is the lack of accountability that people would prefer to experience, just let the government take care of everything and I’ll go fish or I won’t work, etc. U.S. domestic politics is very important to me because I see that the things that made this country great are now being relegated into duplicating that which is making other countries less great. … I’m afraid of the trend where more and more people have the tendency to want to be given instead of wanting to give. People are less willing to share. There are fewer philanthropists being grown and there are greater expectations of the government. I believe that people will come to their senses and not extend the current Administration’s quest to socialize this country. It won’t be a socialist democracy because it won’t be a democracy.”

If Romney gets tough on Israel’s defense and continues to repeat his small government, free market message, he could find that the war chest backing his efforts is, well, limitless. It will be interesting to see how Obama’s billionaire backers –who have so far been reticent to match GOP efforts–will respond.

(Follow me on Twitter at @StevenBertoni)

Post Your Comment

Please or sign up to comment.

Forbes writers have the ability to call out member comments they find particularly interesting. Called-out comments are highlighted across the Forbes network. You'll be notified if your comment is called out.

  • Armand Winter Armand Winter 8 months ago

    The Mormons and the Mob go back a long way in Vegas… in fact the Mormons were there first. See the movie ‘Casino’ for an accurate portrayal of what really happened.

    Sheldon probably sends more money to Israel than that. He needs to decide if he’s an American or not. If not, freeze his assets and deport him.

    We send $114 Billion in aid to Israel every year. That’s “weak”?

  • Anon Anon 8 months ago

    So moron—you’re using a movie “casino” as your basis for historical fact? This man wants less gubment—and he won’t be telling me to not have a coke—or, like a nazi, force me to buy something I don’t want—obamacare.

  • Obama and the mob go back a long way in Chicago.
    Adelson is clearly an American and America supports Israel. If the Founding Fathers heard you talking about “freezing assets” and “deporting” US citizens for supporting Israel, they would be spinning in their graves.

  • Jeff Blankfort Jeff Blankfort 8 months ago

    Anyone who claims that to support American democracy yet believes that he has the right to buy an American election on behalf of another country and that his ill-gotten gains from his casinos in Las Vegas and Macau entitle him to do so, deserves to have his worst fears realized, to have his properties in this country confiscated and sold for the benefit of the ordinary people of Las Vegas who are suffering under among the worst spate on house foreclosures in the country and, as the commenter suggested, have his tuchus deported to the country which he clearly loves the most and whose prime minister is his bosom buddy. Hmmm. Now what country could that be?

  • patrick morgan patrick morgan 8 months ago

    ISRAEL FIRSTERS WILL PUSH AMERICA TOO FAR AND FIND THEMSELVES IN THE SAME POSITION THEIR GRANDPARENT’S DID WHEN THE GERMAN PEOPLE DECIDED TO FIGHT BACK,in post ww1 germany,unfortunately jews had already destroyed their country from within by that time.

  • patrick morgan patrick morgan 8 months ago

    american politicians are FORCED to support israel because aipac and jewish donors can make or break their careers. the fact that jews constitute 74% of all campaign financing both repub and democrat is treason,and what allows jewish interests to control our elected officials,and why the world laughs at us.


  • Jason Mitchell Jason Mitchell 6 months ago

    Israel, in its current state, did not exist when the founding fathers were here.. not by a few centuries in fact. So yeah, I don’t they would give a damn about Israel and neither should you.

  • efpefp efpefp 8 months ago

    go Mr Adelson… if I had a Trillion $, I would follow your lead… nothing is more important to this nation than eliminating this scourge from our government… you have my support and my thanks… ABO

  • Armand Winter Armand Winter 8 months ago

    Vote for Romney, join the Mormons and move to Utah, a racist like you would fit right in

  • Anon Anon 8 months ago

    So marxist/fascist/lib—why is he a racist? Because he disagrees with obummer. You know, EVERYTIME you morons throw that term around without any basis—you lose a little more of its exploitive power. Just something to remember

  • doodenyc doodenyc 8 months ago

    Yeah, pretty soon being called a racist will become a badge of honor the way these guys are going – which would be terrible!

  • patrick morgan patrick morgan 8 months ago

    THE ONLY SCOURGE IS THE AMERICAN JEWS SUBVERTING OUR GOVERNMENT,none of you care about america ,only how you can use it for israel’s benefit, human garbage

  • yankeeskeptic yankeeskeptic 8 months ago

    Obama’s billionaire backers Buffett and Soros lack the conviction of Adelson and they also recognize a losing investment.

  • Anon Anon 8 months ago

    THANK GOD FOR THIS MAN. Somebody who doesn’t think gubment is THE answer.

  • patrick morgan patrick morgan 8 months ago

    says the jew israel firster.

  • seniormoment seniormoment 8 months ago

    Obviously the Sheldon’s have figured out that they can buy politicians through campaign donations for less than the additional taxes they will have to pay if their chosen candidates lose, so from a purely financial point of view they get their money’s worth while corrupting democracy.

  • doggy_style doggy_style 8 months ago

    Israel Firsters like Sheldon Adelson with their limitless funds are going to be the death of America and its democratic values.

  • Uplift Humanity Uplift Humanity 8 months ago

    Adelson is not interested in America or our future. He ONLY cares about his Jewish ancestry, Israel, and his quest for the Jewish Homeland.

    “Adelson is an Israel hawk who has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Jewish causes.”

    He’s donated 100s of Millions of dollars to “Jewish causes”. This 100 Million he’s claiming to offer to Romney is JUST ANOTHER JEWISH CAUSE.

    Romney supporters are some of the least educated backward people in America today. That’s why they can’t differentiate between facts and their beliefs. If you ask one to substantiate their claims, they will reference Fox News or the Bible (usually in that order – since they “know” God forgives the sin of disrespecting Him and His children). That’s also why Romney supporters are usually abusive of others — especially to strangers. Look at the comments here and countless comments on websites, for examples of their animalistic nature.

    Romney supporters — because of their low education, perchance for abusing others, and lack of respect toward RESPECTABLE worldwide leaders — also exhibit bully behavior. This is not surprising, since their “Prophet”, whom they blindly follow, is also a publicly revealed & humiliated BULLY.

    Such are the supporters of Mormon Romney. I do not chastise Mr. Romney. He is doing what his religion commands him to do — to try to raise his Faith above all others. However, it’s his followers (mostly blind ones) whom I chastise here. Why are you people unable to do true research (the kind we were taught to do during your basic high school education)? That is your civic duty — to make INFORMED decisions before voting. You all don’t research the vital facts about candidates — but rather rely on ADVERTISEMENTS to “educate” you about a candidate and his/her opponent. You are uneducated — and you can’t see that. No one wants to be told they are uneducated — even if it’s true.

    America is now full of uneducated stooges. That’s one reason we’re no longer #1 — and continuing to fall — because too many Americans can’t read, write, or do basic Arithmetic. ALL TEST SCORES FOR AMERICAN STUDENTS HAVE PROVEN THIS AS A FACT — FOR MANY DECADES.

    And this lack of ability to clearly discern facts from opinions, innuendo, vitriol, and personal attacks is the problem in America.

    That inability of rational analysis is seen by employers (both American companies and foreign ones). That’s why they won’t hire your kind (except in “service” industries that are all low-paying). That’s also why our voting/election system has become so ineffective (suggested research if you don’t understand why: “hanging chads”, needing to go to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America for an election result, more & more closely contested elections, and the spiraling out-of-control costs of electioneering that now prevents anyone not connected to the ultra-rich from winning any election).

    The election process is no longer democratic. Candidates now DO BUY VOTES of the dumbest members of our society. At the same time, we have more and more dumb people in our society, and they are collecting more and more millions to “CONVINCE” you on whom to cast you vote.


    Mr. Adelson is manipulating these:
    – Mr. Romney (whom he’ll have in his pocket IF he gives him 100 million)
    – Our country – by using his money to get it to keep helping Jewish causes
    – Your vote – by using his money to “CONVINCE” you to vote for his causes

    The $100 million in question is earmarked for media ads (mostly video). It’s been proven time and again that TV commercials work, especially if they are mean, abusive, and sling mud. IRRESPECTIVE of whether they tell the truth or they outright lie…….. they work and do convince the countless uneducated sheep voters we have in our country.

    P.S., If you don’t understand (or agree) with how Adelson is buying your vote (which, funny thing, you’ve already sold to him for free before he’s spent a dime)……. go to your local High School and ask ANY High School teacher to explain it. If you can’t understand this basic notion, you are sadly uneducated. And Adelson will pay EXTRA for your vote. He also wants your name and address and phone # so he can keep coming back to you when he needs more help with Jewish causes.

    Be wary of how you cast your vote. Those whom you think are your savior may end up taking YOUR FUTURE. A good Con man always fools his victim. A great Con man convinces his victim to be his friend.

  • Greg S Greg S 8 months ago

    You know, it is the elitist attitudes of liberals like you that will cost the President this election. I keep hearing how smart the President is, but that does not automatically make you a leader. No one in my memory has divided this country more that the President and while racism might be part of it (on both sides by the way…if 98% of whites voted for the white guy, the election would be over before it started). If the President didn’t want to turn our country into Greece, Spain, or France, a lot more people would be supporting him. Back to my point, if the President was any kind of leader, we would not be in this position right now. For the first 2 years of his Presidency, he and the democrats told everyone to go pound sand and he still got nothing done …even with a straight flush in his hands.

    Romney I believe will mend the fence between the parties. Romney may not be the best choice, but he is head and shoulders above the President. After 3 1/2 years, Romney still has more relevant experience than the President, well maybe not at golf….or spending trillions of dollars for nothing….or starting a class war…..

  • Edward Nigma Edward Nigma 8 months ago

    “A good Con man always fools his victim. A great Con man convinces his victim to be his friend.”
    You mean just like Obama conned you into believing he was actually gonna do what he said he would do back in ’08? But instead he just sat for two years while the Dems had control and did nothing, and now he has no record to run on, hence the reason he has to run the negative campaign already.

  • shoppegirl shoppegirl 8 months ago

    Greg S … I believe the racism if there is any belongs totally on the left.
    I believe more whites voted Obama, than blacks voted McCain…. nuff said.

    Romeny can fix this.. Romney wasn’t our first choice, but I do like him more and more each day.

    Hes smart, he can do this… Please vote for him.

  • Uplift Humanity Uplift Humanity 7 months ago

    I’m not as concerned about Obama’s future as you’re assuming – he plenty capable to take care of himself, and to keep working toward another Nobel Prize. It’s America that I’m worried about.

    Fact is, America’s growing uneducated class have ALREADY cost us our future. We’re on a downward spiral because you and too many Americans can’t compete with Asia. Your words simply demonstrate my point – with more unsubstantiable beliefs.

    Can you provide academic-level proofs of what you said? I’m sure you can’t – you and most Romney supporters are bully’s like him, who will say anything but can’t support their beliefs. You called me an elitist – can you substantiate even that belief?

    Yes, Obama has had to face challenges unparalleled in American history. He’s had to face, simultaneously:
    – protracted involvement in two major wars (initiated by his republican predecessor),
    – a major blow to our economy (initiated by his republican predecessor),
    – major financial crises in most major nations worldwide (caused by some major players on Wall Street being very undisciplined),
    – a more belligerent expansionist China (spurred by all of our own companies looking for a quick buck and cheap manufacturing),
    – a more belligerent radical Islam (they’re succeeding in bleeding us monetarily),
    – AND racism among our population AND Congressional leaders!

    And in spite of these major hurdles, he’s managed to accomplish much:
    – he’s supported Wall Street enough that they’re solidly on their feet – able to again payout tens of billions in JUST BONUSES. Too bad they won’t lend to our small businesses — no President can make companies do that,
    – he’s allowed the airline industry to become profitable again (AA has serious structural problems),
    – he’s brought back the automakers – who are all doing well again, growing
    – he ended the war in Iraq WHILE training the Iraqi military to defend themselves
    – he’s ending the war in Afganistan while training their forces. Their forces are winning high praise for what they’ve accomplished,
    – he incapacitated OBL and much of his network – which was a massive intel & black-ops operation. The President sets strategic goals for our militia, and so he gets credit AND blame – while the military execute his orders with tactical capabilities.
    – he’s kept very favorable foreign relations with our allies and those not so friendly. He’s also well respected outside America – too bad some Americans let their bigotry get in the way.
    – he’s fought for a revolutionary healthcare system for all Americans. It’s similar to when President F.Roosevelt established our Social Security system. SS was VERY unpopular when he proposed and signed it into law. But now it’s considered a hallmark of our country. Similarly if enough thinking individuals (instead of reactionary/abusive people) give it a chance, it will improve healthcare for most, at less overall cost than most of us currently pay. And his healthcare program is much like Romney’s program in Mass.
    – he’s resumed funding for key American research centers, including NASA and the NIH (and others)…… in spite of the damage done to our research community by his republican predecessor.

    President Obama has demonstrated successful leadership under very difficult and antagonistic environments.

    As far as YOUR beliefs: “Romney will mend fences between the parties”, or Obama “spending trillions”, or what you claim as reverse racism…. can you back up any of it? President Bush spent trillions and had Congress sign spending that continued into the Obama Administration. So you can’t claim Obama made the government spend for the two wars OR for the Wall Street bailout. It was our beloved for President G. H. W. Bush who gets that accolade.

    We went from a President who got “C” grades in college, to a President who was a leader and top student for most of his life. It would be a shame to go to one who’s highest academic credential is his High School Diploma.

    A Romney presidency would AGAIN make America the laughing stock of the world, would reward companies that put personal profits over national interests, would borrow our future from our grandchildren’s children — AND would wipe out any social program that makes us a stable society. He won’t pay for top educators, police, or firefighters — just for personal “belief” reasons.

    Romney will use America to reward any billionaire or multinational willing to pay for it. He’s already selling America while campaigning.

  • Uplift Humanity Uplift Humanity 7 months ago

    I’m not as concerned about Obama’s future as you’ve assumed – he’s very capable to take care of himself, and to keep working toward another Nobel Prize. It’s America that I’m worried about.

    Fact is, America’s growing uneducated class have ALREADY cost us our future. We’re on a downward spiral because you and too many Americans can’t/won’t compete with Asia. Your words demonstrated my point – you only gave more unsubstantiable beliefs, no facts.

    Can you provide academic-level proofs of what you said? I’m sure you can’t – you and most Romney supporters are bully’s like him, who will say anything but can’t support their beliefs. You called me an elitist – can you substantiate even that belief?

    Yes, Obama has had to face challenges unparalleled in American history. He’s had to face, simultaneously:
    – protracted involvement in TWO major wars (initiated by his republican predecessor),
    – a major blow to our economy (initiated by his republican predecessor),
    – major financial crises in most major nations worldwide (caused by some very undisciplined major Wall Street players),
    – a belligerent expansionist China (spurred by all of our own companies looking for a quick buck and cheap manufacturing),
    – a belligerent radical Islam (they’re succeeding in bleeding us monetarily),
    – AND racism toward him from our population AND Congressional leaders!

    In spite of these major hurdles, he’s managed to accomplish much. His policies & policy makers have:
    – Wall Street solidly on their feet – they’re again paying tens of BILLIONS in just BONUSES. Too bad they won’t lend to our small businesses,
    – the airline industry profitable again
    – the auto industry strong and growing
    – revolutionized comprehensive healthcare. It’s as important and controversial as our SOCIAL SECURITY system was when FDR enacted it. Just as now our SS system is super important to us & the envy of other nations, so will this healthcare program — if uneducated reactionaries don’t cripple it.
    – strong foreign policy & respect of all major allies and non-friends
    – pulled out of Iraq AFTER training the Iraqi military to protect themselves
    – pulling from Afganistan WHILE training their military – who are getting accolades for their performance
    – incapacitated OBL and his top-aides – severely weakening their terror network
    – re-strengthened our research communities including NASA and NIH – after his republican predecessor, former President G.W. Bush, made our funding the laughing stock of the world.

    On the other hand, Romney is not interested in science/research, education, our police & firefighters, our healthcare, or our future.

    Romney is a WHEELER-DEALER — he has no other credential to his name.

    He was wheeling-dealing when he was in government, and he’s been wheeling-dealing in his business dealings. NOW, he’s wheeling-dealing with the ultra-rich billionaires — promising to use America and change its laws to help then stay rich and get richer.

    If you believe Romney wants to help us, you’ve been conned by the man.

    Concerning your points on “reverse racism”, Obama “spending trillions”, or “Romney mending fences between the parties” — these are your BELIEFS. For facts, lookup what racism means (it’s not about skin-color), who spent trillions BEFORE Obama came to power and left him with the bill, and Romney’s record on mediating race-relations, employee/union negotiations (including teachers), or international diplomacy. He has no success with any of these – yet you BELIEVE he can make democrats like him and his self-serving ways?

    No Thanks!!! Most in our country don’t want — and can’t afford — a self-serving wheeler-dealer in elected office.

  • Uplift Humanity Uplift Humanity 7 months ago

    Sorry for the repost — my previous comment didn’t appear earlier, can I delete it?

  • Uplift Humanity Uplift Humanity 8 months ago

    Romney and Adelson are con men.

    Romney’s convinced Adelson to give him tons of money.
    Adelson will convince you to give your vote for Jewish causes.

  • rsborchardt rsborchardt 8 months ago

    I hope Mr. Adelson realizes that if he is perceived as trying to buy the eelection it will backfire. Public sentiment runs strongly against such things.

    No election will be acceptable (seen as credible and legitimate) with too much money from a single source.

  • I hope you’re right, but too many Americans are blissfully unaware that our country is being bought by 1% and that Republicans are owned by corporations and Grover Norquist.

  • Steven Bertoni Steven Bertoni, Forbes Staff 8 months ago

    Hello Laraine,
    Tell us more about your Grover Norquist theory. Corporations give big to the Democrats too. Then there are the all-powerful unions, and they only give to the Dems.

  • Sure. Grover Norquist has somehow coerced virtually all the Republican politicians, including Romney, to sign his no new tax pledge. I don’t know what this unelected, shadowy lobbyist is offering in return. If you read his speech to the conservatives, you’ll find that he wants a Republican sweep in Nov, including a puppet president who will sign all the right wing bills that congress will pass. (At his behest? Who knows?) Between his interference and the millions that the richest are giving Romney, it looks as though our country will go to the highest bidder. Sickening.

  • renagade112 renagade112 8 months ago

    I just dont understand why these insatiable amounts of money equates to anything resembling a “Message” of what these candidates stand for?? This is insane that the amount of money raised equals a win. This is such nonsense. Sooner or later this whole money thing is going to have to be outlawed. We live in the information age these days… I’m pretty positive that there are those media outlets that would, in an election season, donate airtime so that politicians could get there message out… since the American public is sorta slave to what the media wants to put out there about any given politician anyway… why the need for these rediculous amounts of money. Anyone that would “Invest” in a candidate in this fashion is simply taking a gamble… and will be looking for favors in the future. What a waste.

  • SAKURA Ue. SAKURA Ue. 8 months ago


  • david0296 david0296 8 months ago

    The man that has built a Las Vegas casino empire is concerned about “Obama’s “socialization” of America”? How laughable. As if Las Vegas is the poster child for “family values” and morality. He built his entire business catering to every sin imaginable. Now he’s suddenly worried about our country becoming more “socialized”? Translation: I don’t want a black man running our country. See how easy that was to tell the truth?

  • Socialism is a system of governance, not a system of morality. Immoral people can oppose Socialism and be consistent.
    Adelson (and I) oppose Obama on ideological and practical grounds, not racist ones. I wanted Herman Cain to get the Republican nomination.

    Obama’s half white, and I oppose his white half as much as his black half.

  • railroadmike railroadmike 8 months ago

    Thomas Jefferson warned the American people in 1816 about todays news. “The end of Democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution WILL occur when the government falls into the hands of the lending institutions and the moneyed incorprations”. From that statement I say we now live in an Oligarcky instead of a Democracy.

  • *Oligarchy.

    Unless you mean to spell it the way Jefferson would have.

  • Eric Zuesse Eric Zuesse 8 months ago

    Steven Bertoni says that, given Adelson’s passion “to protect the U.S. from what he sees as Obama’s ‘socialization’ of America, as well as securing the safety of Israel,” “that ‘limitless’ description telegraphs potential nine-digit support of Romney.” However, since Adelson’s wealth is $25 billion, “limitless” could also mean a billion dollars or more; and a billion dollars is ten digits, not nine. For a person with that passion, and with that wealth, even ten billion dollars to Romney’s election-effort would be possible, and that’s eleven digits, a hundred times nine digits. People such as Bertoni have no idea how much power a person with $25 billion can buy. In the post Citizens United Amerika, we shall soon know.

  • Steven Bertoni Steven Bertoni, Forbes Staff 8 months ago

    Hello Eric,
    Thanks for commenting. I very much do know the power a billionaire has. In fact I say in the article that Adelson could give $1 billion to Romney and remain among the 15 richest people in the world. The $100 million I mentioned was just a starting point based on exclusive interviews I’ve had with the billionaire.

  • Eric Zuesse Eric Zuesse 8 months ago

    Your arithmetic was nonetheless wrong there. And it’s an important error, because Citizens United has opened the floodgates to propaganda, and people such as Adelson can thus now outspend the public and thus fool enough gullible people so as to “win” an “election.” Is that a “democracy”? It’s more a kleptocracy. Furthermore, a far higher percentage of the Forbes 400 are Republicans than are Democrats, and so Citizens United will turn the U.S. into a right-wing one-party state. That’s called “fascism.” Adelson’s excuse is the anti-communist, anti-fascist, George Soros, whose political donations are infinitesimal compared to those of far-Rightists such as the Kochs, Simmons, and Adelson himself. Adelson’s paranoia about Soros as an excuse to buy the U.S. Government in “elections” that are a farce is no excuse at all. It is a rationalization for his fascism.

  • I wish money was not part of this election.I want a true election with no slamming ads and they speak the truth for a change.

    Brigitte Grisanti