Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Big Shoe

Of all the millions of dollars given to SuperPacs so far for this year's presidential candidates--the overwhelming majority going to support Romney--80% of it was provided by a total of 196 people.  Since much of this is given in secret, it is only an educated guess, but it is likely that the single person who has provided more millions than any other for Romney and other GOPer candidates--with an on the record boast that his giving could be "limitless"-- is multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson.

Known during the primary circus season as Newt's Vegas sugardaddy, Adelson's global casino business enables him to provide millions to the Romney campaign and to its SuperPacs.  He hasn't been shy about his intent to in effect buy the presidency.  But his motives seemed to be ideology and vanity.  Now another motive may have emerged.  A big shoe has dropped.  He may be buying the presidency to keep himself out of jail.

A PBS Frontline and ProPublica investigation suggests that Adelson and his gambling empire may have criminally violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by in effect bribing an official to pave the way for an extremely lucrative mega-casino in Macau, the only place in the whole wide country of China where gambling is legal.  Adelson's company is being investigated for just such possible crimes by federal officials. This may also have involved money going to the Chinese mob.

Violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is a federal crime, so it really really helps if you own the U.S. Justice Department.  Which might well be among Adelson's acquisitions should Romney be elected.

Romney may need to own the Justice Department for his own defense as well--against perjury, for instance.  But his needs would likely be secondary to Adelson's. 

Rachel has her usual sterling storytelling and analysis of the Adelson affair (though she takes awhile getting there in this clip) and here's more on the story from ProPublica.

This attempt at a get out of jail free card is precisely the kind of corruption that laws limiting campaign contributions and providing full disclosure and oversight were meant to limit if not stop.  It's why these laws were created and passed, even with opposition from those who benefit from these opportunities for corruption.  At least until the current Supreme Court decided that money is speech and corporations are people, and that there is no evidence that unlimited and unaccountable campaign money leads to corruption.  

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