September 24, 2012- U.S. billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has set a new record in political donations by giving $70 million to help Republicans in the 2012 elections, nearly triple the previous highest amount, according to news outlet Politico on Monday.
Adelson, 79-year-old chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp , has come to symbolize a new era in U.S. campaign finance that affords great power to individual wealthy donors through unlimited-spending outside "Super PAC" groups. These groups finance millions of dollars worth of advertising on candidates' behalf.
In a rare interview with a mainstream media outlet, Adelson told Politico he planned to spend up to $100 million — "whatever it takes" — to defeat President Barack Obama on Nov. 6, a stance he also made to Forbes magazine in June.
According to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission, Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have contributed about $37 million, almost all of it to Super PACs backing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, primary rival Newt Gingrich and party peers running for seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
The rest of the $70 million presumably went into tax-exempt organizations that are not required to disclose donors. Politico reported that tax-exempt groups received $20 million to $30 million of Adelson's money but did not give further details.