Newt Gingrich on a campaign stop in Tampa, Fla., on Monday. (Brian Blanco / European…)
Reporting from Washington — Sheldon and Miriam Adelson are sending another $5 million to support the presidential ambitions of Newt Gingrich, providing funds to the House speaker's close allies as the remaining GOP presidential candidates turn to Florida.
This month, the Adelsons sent their first $5 million wire transfer to Winning Our Future, a "super PAC" backing Gingrich's campaign. The organization is one of a new genre of campaign committees that can legally accept donations of unlimited amounts -- like the $10 million now donated from the Adelsons.
A Supreme Court decision spawned new rules allowing "independent" political committees to solicit funds from individuals, unions and corporations for campaign purposes, provided the donors' identities are disclosed. The additional $5 million contribution from the Adelsons was first reported Monday by Jon Ralston, a columnist for the Las Vegas Sun.
A source close to the Adelsons told the Tribune/Los Angeles Times Washington bureau Monday evening that the latest $5 million transfer was signed by Miriam Adelson, while the last one was signed by Sheldon. The funds come from a joint account.
Their donation would appear to be the largest from an individual to a super PAC.
Sheldon Adelson made his fortune in the gambling business. He married Miriam, an Israeli physician, in 1991.
Their personal donations are sent without condition to the Winning Our Future super PAC because the Adelsons have a special loyalty to Gingrich since they first met him in Washington in 1995, at the time Congress approved the Jerusalem Embassy Act. The law would require the moving of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Since it was passed, consecutive U.S. presidents have waived implementation of the law on national security and other grounds. Israel has long claimed Jerusalem as the historic capital of the Jewish state. Palestinians also claim the city as their spiritual capital.
The attention to the Adelson contributions is puzzling to Sheldon Adelson. He remarked to one associate Monday that each check he writes receives intense media scrutiny while labor unions contribute tens of millions without much public attention.
Adelson noted that his donations came from his personal bank account, while unions are spending much larger amounts of worker-given money to support candidates.
Adelson and Gingrich have found common ground discussing labor issues in the past. Though Israel is the topic on which they met and have the strongest bond, Gingrich and Adelson conferred at a time when Adelson was having trouble with unionized employees at his Las Vegas casino, the Sands.