GOP Convention to Sheldon Adelson: Hey, Brother, Can You Spare $6 Million?

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Sheldon Adelson Speaks At Global Gaming Expo In Las Vegas
The conservative casino mogul hasn't been able to spend much on the presidential contest this year. Cash-strapped convention officials in Cleveland would like to help him with that.Photo: Ethan Miller

It’s not always easy being the best-known political sugar daddy in America. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson isn’t necessarily the most generous political donor. But he became a legend in 2012 by personally keeping Newt Gingrich in the presidential nominating contest for a good while with one of the earliest and most notorious super-pacs, Winning Our Future (he and his wife, Miriam, eventually donated about $20 million to the eccentric cause of the Newtster). Adelson went on to shower Mitt Romney with many millions, all the while maintaining an even larger investment in his other big political project, supporting Israeli prime minister Bibi Netanyahu (Adelson’s biggest political moment to date was probably a July 2012 Romney visit to Israel when he was able to hang with both of the beneficiaries of his largesse).

This presidential cycle Adelson has pretty much kept the money spigot closed. During the Republican primaries he reportedly stayed out of the fray because he and his wife had different favorites among the Cuban-American conservatives in the field (Miriam was fond of Ted Cruz, Sheldon leaned toward Marco Rubio). He was, nonetheless, one of the first big-money people to endorse Trump once it became obvious he would be the nominee.

Soon Adelson made it known that he was willing to set up a pro-Trump super-pac and endow it with 100 million smackers, which is a lot even in this day and age.

But since then things have gotten a bit weird. Trump can’t seem to bring himself to accept super-pac help despite the vast costs his effort will incur in a general-election throwdown with Hillary Clinton. So Adelson’s checkbook remains on the sidelines.

It’s not so surprising, then, that other needy political causes have cast their lonely eyes toward Vegas in the hopes of a big donation. This week the Cleveland organizing committee for the Republican National Convention, afflicted by unredeemed pledges from two dozen corporations who don’t much want to associate themselves with the lurid spectacle of a Trump nomination, wrote the Adelsons a letter asking for a bailout:

We would greatly appreciate if you would consider a $6,000,000 contribution to the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee to help us cross the finish line,” states the letter, which was dated July 12. The convention begins July 18.

Now, you have to appreciate that Sheldon Adelson’s net worth is an estimated $25 billion. Six million dollars is strictly sofa-cushion money for him. So it will be interesting to see if he coughs it up, and if he deducts it from his so-far-idle $100 million pledge to Trump. At some point that political money might start burning a hole in his pocket.