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- Allen West
- Barack Obama
- Bill Maher
- Chris Hayes
- Citizens United
- Citizens United v. FEC
- Clint Eastwood
- Dick morris
- Donald Trump
- Election 2012
- GOP primary
- In Memoriam
- Joe Walsh
- John McCain
- John Sununu
- Karl Rove
- Koch Brothers
- Linda McMahon
- Mitt Romney
- Newt Gingrich
- Organized Crime
- Rachel Maddow
- Real Time
- Republican Party
- Richard Mourdock
- Rick Santorum
- Scott Brown
- Stephen Engelberg
- Supreme Court
- The New Yorker
- Todd Akin
- Up With Chris Hayes
- brokered convention
- labor unions
- super PAC's
- super pacs
If anyone wasn't already sure why we should be worried about people like billionaire Sheldon Adelson buying our elections here in the United States, you won't be left with much doubt after reading this article by ProPublica which was co-published with PBS' Frontline.
Rachel Maddow spoke to one of the co-authors of the article in the segment above, Stephen Engelberg.
A decade ago gambling magnate and leading Republican donor Sheldon Adelson looked at a desolate spit of land in Macau and imagined a glittering strip of casinos, hotels and malls.
Where competitors saw obstacles, including Macau's hostility to outsiders and historic links to Chinese organized crime, Adelson envisaged a chance to make billions.
Adelson pushed his chips to the center of the table, keeping his nerve even as his company teetered on the brink of bankruptcy in late 2008.
The Macau bet paid off, propelling Adelson into the ranks of the mega-rich and underwriting his role as the largest Republican donor in the 2012 campaign, providing tens of millions of dollars to Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and other GOP causes.
Now, some of the methods Adelson used in Macau to save his company and help build a personal fortune estimated at $25 billion have come under expanding scrutiny by federal and Nevada investigators, according to people familiar with both inquiries.
Internal email and company documents, disclosed here for the first time, show that Adelson instructed a top executive to pay about $700,000 in legal fees to Leonel Alves, a Macau legislator whose firm was serving as an outside counsel to Las Vegas Sands.
The company's general counsel and an outside law firm warned that the arrangement could violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It is unknown whether Adelson was aware of these warnings. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act bars American companies from paying foreign officials to "affect or influence any act or decision" for business gain.
Federal investigators are looking at whether the payments violate the statute because of Alves' government and political roles in Macau, people familiar with the inquiry said. Investigators were also said to be separately examining whether the company made any other payments to officials. An email by Alves to a senior company official, disclosed by the Wall Street Journal, quotes him as saying "someone high ranking in Beijing" had offered to resolve two vexing issues — a lawsuit by a Taiwanese businessman and Las Vegas Sands' request for permission to sell luxury apartments in Macau. Another email from Alves said the problems could be solved for a payment of $300 million. There is no evidence the offer was accepted. Both issues remain unresolved. Read on...
Former Republican presidential nominee John McCain says he's "worried" that billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who reportedly may contribute up to $100 million in support of GOP hopeful Mitt Romney, and others could have an undue influence on elections as a result of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.
"I'm not only worried about him, I'm worried about many others," McCain told NBC's David Gregory on Sunday. "I've always been concerned about the labor unions who take money from their union members and without their permission, contribute to causes that they may not support. So am I concerned about the incredible amount of money that's washing around? Yeah."
"Sheldon Adelson makes money from a foreign casino as well," Gregory noted. "You said this week it's tantamount to foreign money getting into the [Romney] campaign."
"I think there will scandals as associated with the worse decision of the United States Supreme Court in the 21st century," McCain explained. "Uninformed, arrogant, naive. I just wish one of [the justices] had run for county sheriff. That's why we miss people like [former Chief Justice] William Rehnquist and [former Justice] Sandra Day O'Connor, who had some experience with congressional and other races."
"Do you think Adelson himself will have undue influence on Mitt Romney?" Gregory pressed.
"Not any more than other people who give lots of money," Mccain replied. "The whole system is broken and it's a wash. I don't pick out Mr. Adelson any more than I pick out [AFL-CIO President Richard] Trumka."
"So the fact is that the system is broken. I predict to you that there will be scandals and I predict to you that there will be reform again."
In a Friday interview on PBS, McCain had said that Adelson's contributions to Romney's presidential ambitions amounted to "foreign money" influencing a U.S. political campaign.
That remark seemed to be somewhat at odds with Romney's assertion at the Iowa State Fair last year that "corporations are people, my friend."
"I think that in that context he was talking about they are made up of people and that’s true in that context," McCain explained. "But to be corporations for purposes of involving campaigns, to be treated the same as people, I just don’t agree with that."
After his second place wins in both Alabama and Georgia this Tuesday night, Newt Gingrich vowed to stay in the race all the way through the Republican nomination process and called for a brokered convention if Romney fails to receive the adequate number of delegates to secure the party's nomination before then.
Which has many in the media asking why Gingrich is still staying in the race unless he's trying to make sure Mitt Romney secures the nomination, since the one person he's pulling the most votes from is Rick Santorum. Gingrich refusing to drop out has made many, myself included, wonder if his billionaire backer Sheldon Adelson is just doing his best to make sure Santorum cannot win the nomination with continuing to fund Gringrich because he does not want to see Santorum win the nomination and would rather have Romney in there if his candidate cannot win.
I guess we'll find out before long when we see if Gingrich gets out shortly despite what he said here.
Here's more from TPM -- Gingrich Calls For Open Convention Against Romney:
Addressing supporters in Alabama, Newt Gingrich made an open call for the Republican nomination to be decided by a contested convention, with Mitt Romney blocked from winning a majority of delegates.
"So you have my promise, at a time when I hope this evening we have ended any news media talk of the inevitability of their handpicked candidate. at a time when we can forget about trying to nominate a Massachusetts moderate.
"And start talking about: When the primaries are over, and it's clear no one person has won, who would do a best job of representing America, governing, and winning the election against Barack Obama."
I'm still trying to figure out whether any of these candidates who are hanging in there actually really want a brokered convention as Newt was calling for here and they are just running off of pure ego despite their slim chances of winning the nomination, or whether they're staying in the race on purpose to help Romney because they know they'll split the votes from the Evangelical Christian right base of the party and they're playing their supporters for fools. I think Gingrich is in this to make sure he raises his profile and his ability to make money later no matter what happens. His other motivations... I'd love to hear some feedback on.
I've just always assumed his motivations for getting in the race in the first place were the same as Palin pretending she was going to get in, and that's to raise the price of speaking engagements later and more time on Fox "News" pretending anyone should care what you think about much of anything.
What's astounding is that if they are staying in to help Romney, what they've managed to do in the mean time is really harm Romney by moving him so far to the right that he's going to have trouble getting elected in the general election. It all just looks like insanity to me if any of them truly care about Republicans having a chance to defeat President Obama, but maybe I'm missing something with the big picture here. I think they're actually lucky that most voters and our corporate media aren't paying as much attention to what comes out of all of their mouths on the campaign trail on a daily basis as the blogs like ours have.
I'll just finish with saying, here's to a Republican brokered convention if that's what the party really wants. I'll be sitting on the sidelines with the popcorn.
From this Saturday's Up With Chris Hayes -- Story of the Week: Democracy for Billionaires:
Chris's Story of the Week asks who is Sheldon Adelson and what does it mean for democracy when a billionaire investor and casino owner like him can give a Newt Gingrich-associated super PAC $10 million?
Chris highlighted The New Yorker's profile of Adelson, "The Brass Ring" which you can read in its entirety here -- The World of Business, The Brass Ring.