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Obama may have DJs, but the EDM boom also benefits Republicans

August 15, 2012|By August Brown
  • Steve Wynn is chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Limited, which has become a major player in EDM's conquest of Las Vegas.
Steve Wynn is chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts Limited, which has become… (Mike Clarke/AFP/Getty…)

This post has been corrected. Please see note at the bottom for details.

On Tuesday, the Obama campaign released a new Web ad touting its positive relationships within the world of electronic dance music. But over at Spin, noted dance-music critic Philip Sherburne points out that one side effect of the boom in EDM in Las Vegas casino-clubs is a windfall for at least one major Republican donor.

Wynn Resorts Limited, which counts the Wynn and Encore hotels in its stable, has become one of the major players in EDM's conquest of Vegas. The resorts' clubs -- Surrender, Tryst, Encore Beach Club and XS -- have hosted sets from Afrojack, Skrillex, Steve Angello and other top-line names in the EDM scene. A new Web ad pitches the complex as the sexy, sweaty center of four-on-the-floor hedonism (see video below).

Steve Wynn, owner of Wynn Resorts Limited, isn't necessarily a Republican stereotype -- he's an enthusiastic vegan and a one-time Obama voter. But, as Sherburne points out, in this election cycle,  he's had a change of heart, reportedly donating heavily to Crossroads GPS, the Super PAC founded by Republican operative Karl Rove. 501(c)(4) groups such as Crossroads aren't required to disclose donors in wake of a Supreme Court ruling.

Wynn has also struck up a personal relationship with Rove, with the two attending each others' weddings, and Wynn flew Rove and his wife to Italy on Wynn's private jet.

Wynn's personal lobbyist, Charlie Spies, also helped found Restore Our Future, the Super PAC advocating for Republican Mitt Romney's bid for the presidency. 

Spending money at Wynn's nightclubs isn't the only way EDM fans might be contributing to Republican causes. The Anschutz Corp., the parent company of AEG and Coachella promoter Goldenvoice, is run by Philip Anschutz, a noted Republican donor who has given at least $50,000 to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Super PAC linked to House Speaker John Boehner.

Dance music prides itself on inclusiveness and acceptance of a wide variety of sexual identities and cultures. But with the amount of money currently flowing through the scene, it's perhaps inevitable that at least some of it is going to businesses whose owners support politicians with different values. 

[For the Record, 3:15 p.m. Aug. 15: An earlier version of this post said that Wynn Resorts Limited owned The Bellagio in Las Vegas. Steve Wynn's former firm Mirage Resorts built the hotel, but Wynn sold the firm in 2000 to what is now MGM Resorts International.]

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