Billionaire casino developer Sheldon Adelson is Newt Gingrich’s political sugar daddy. Adelson and his wife have donated $10 million to a Gingrich Super PAC in just the past month in an attempt to match the Romney Super PAC advertising spending in Florida. So, what does this member of the 1% want from his investment in the former speaker and current GOP presidential candidate? What every fat-cat wants: to crush unions and pay less in taxes.
A lot has been made of Adelson’s support for Israel and his opposition to an independent Palestinian state, but it’s the casino owner’s disdain for employee unions, and his desire to pay less in taxes that is more likely at the center of his motivation.
“People who know him,” the New York Times reported yesterday of Adelson, the multibillionare casino magnate, “say his affinity for Mr. Gingrich stems from a devotion to Israel as well as loyalty to a friend. A fervent Zionist who opposes any territorial compromise to make way for a Palestinian state, Mr. Adelson has long been enamored of Mr. Gingrich’s full-throated defense of Israel.”
As for Adelson’s “union-buster” stance:
Some of Adelson’s bitterest political battles have been fought in his adopted home state against the forces of organized labor, which has a strong foothold in the casino industry. The Venetian opened in 1999 as the only non-union casino on the Strip and has been the target of protest from the hotel workers union, Culinary 226, ever since. Many Democratic politicians in the state continue to observe the union’s boycott of Adelson’s properties. Rep. Shelley Berkley, a Nevada Democrat now running for Senate in what’s likely to be one of 2012′s highest-profile races, was once Adelson’s top political lieutenant, but the two parted ways over labor issues. Adelson and Berkley have regarded each other as mortal enemies ever since — even though Berkley, like Adelson, is a hawkish, socially liberal Jew.
Current’s “The Young Turks” recently took a look at the financial benefits for Adelson in supporting Newt’s fiscal policies:
Newt Gingrich’s sugar daddy Sheldon Adelson agrees with the candidates on many fronts — but no one else has done the math on how much money Adelson would make (or save) if Gingrich were actually elected. Even Romney looks poor compared to Adelson, who is 84 times richer. If Adelson “earned” the same percentage of income as Romney in relationship to net worth, he’d be making $1.76 billion. At 15 percent, he pays $265 million. Under the “Buffett Rule” Adelson would pay twice as much.
For a fat-cat like Adelson, support for an extremist like Newt Gingrich has more to do with lining his own pockets and crushing employee bargaining rights than supporting Israel.