Sheldon Adelson is one of the world’s richest men, worth an estimated $25 billion according to Forbes.
He has used his wealth to help Republican causes, most prominently by being a staunch backer of Newt Gingrich’s campaign for president, spending more than $16 million funding the pro-Gingrich Super PAC “Winning the Future.” When it seemed clear Mitt Romney would be the Republican nominee for president, Adelson threw his support behind the former Massachusetts governor, with a $10 million donation to the pro-Romney “Restore Our Future” Super PAC.
With the financial support he gave Gingrich, Romney, and other Republican candidates running for office, Adelson spent over $53 million on the 2012 election, with nearly all of the candidates he funded losing, the exception being incumbent Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV).
Asked how he thought the millions of dollars he showered on Romney’s candidacy were spent, Adelson responded, “By paying bills. That’s how you spend money. Either that or become a Jewish husband – you spend a lot of money.”
Despite all of the press Adelson receives for donating money to Republican politicians, he actually donates significantly more to charity. Adelson’s wife Miriam, an Israeli physician specializing in drug abuse treatment, is always there to give input into what philanthropic causes her husband should support. Among the organizations who have benefited from their generosity are Taglit-Birthright Israel, which offers ten-day trips to Israel to Jewish adults between 18 and 26, to whom they have donated more than $100 million since 2007. In addition, they have given $25 million to the Holocaust memorial organization Yad Vashem; $25 million to a Jewish high school in Summerlin, Nevada; and $5 million to a Jewish elementary and middle school in Newton, Massachusetts.
Adelson explained to Forbes magazine earlier this year his motivation for supporting Republican candidates. “What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we’ve been experiencing for almost four years,” he said. “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.”
Adelson, 79, is the chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the parent company of Venetian Macao Limited, which operates The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center. The Adelsons have received numerous honors for their charitable work, such as the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian Institution in 2008. Adelson received the Chairman’s Award from the Nevada Policy Research Institute, a think tank in Las Vegas, for his efforts to advance free market principles in the state of Nevada. A staunch supporter of Israel, Adelson and his wife were appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the honorary delegation to accompany Bush to Jerusalem for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel in May 2008.