Sheldon Adelson just staked another huge bet.
The international casino magnate made history during the primary campaign by funneling an astonishing $20 million into the SuperPAC supporting, of all people, Newt Gingrich. He’s on the record saying he doesn’t much like Mitt Romney, because he’s a slippery fish who won’t give firm committments.
“He’s not the bold decision maker like Newt Gingrich is,” Adelson explained during the primary campaign. “Everything I’ve said to Mitt, [Romney responds,] ‘Let me look into it.’ He’s like Obama.”
Nevertheless, Adelson is cutting a $10 million check to the Romney SuperPAC, Restore Our Future, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. This donation would put Adelson first among Romney donors, displacing Texas McMansioneer Bob Perry. (For more on the top donors to the Romney SuperPAC, read my recent Rolling Stone piece.)
The rapprochement is not unexpected. Romney met with Adelson a couple weeks back — the same day he was palling around with birther Donald Trump. And Adelson’s donation is a strong sign that the billionare and the Republican nominee have come to see eye to eye. Besides Adelson’s obvious interest in the gambling arts — he owns the Venetian in Las Vegas — he is fiercely hawkish on issues relating to Israeli security, particularly vis à vis Iran.
Perhaps the more eye-popping figure from the Journal report is that Adelson’s donation to the Romney SuperPAC represents only 1/10th of the money he plans to drop in this election cycle – $100 million in all.
It is not immediately clear whether this sum is already accounted for in the reported $1 billion war chest Romney’s richest right-wing allies are building up. According to the Journal, much of Adelson’s lucre is expected to fuel Karl Rove’s “dark money” machine, American Crossroads GPS, which does not disclose its donors.