Casino executive Sheldon Adelson, a long-time financial backer and friend of Newt Gingrich, has given $5 million to a political action committee supporting the former House speaker’s presidential candidacy, according to a person close to the chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corp.
The money went to Winning Our Future, a so-called super PAC set up to support Gingrich, according to the person, speaking on condition of anonymity. Such committees can take in unlimited donations from corporations, unions and individuals. Adelson has already donated the maximum $2,500 to Gingrich’s presidential campaign, Federal Election Commission records show.
A spokesman for the PAC, John Grimaldi, declined to comment.
“It’s our practice to decline comment on our donors or contributions until such time as required by the FEC,” Grimaldi said in an e-mail. A Gingrich campaign spokesman, R.C. Hammond, said he couldn’t confirm the donation.
“If it’s true, it’s a tremendously generous thing for Mr. Adelson to do and we’re very grateful for it,” Hammond said. “It certainly helps balance the weight on one side,” where a PAC favoring Republican rival Mitt Romney spent millions of dollars in attack ads. “It can offer a counterweight to that,” Hammond said.
Gingrich trails primary front-runner Romney in campaign cash. Through Sept. 30, Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, raised $32.6 million while Gingrich took in $2.9 million.
The former U.S. House speaker, who finished fourth in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses after leading in the polls a month earlier, criticized Romney today for the ads attacking him, funded by the pro-Romney PAC Restore Our Future.
“It is your millionaire friends giving to the PAC,” Gingrich said during this morning’s Republican debate in Concord, New Hampshire. “And you know some of the ads are -- aren’t true. Just say that. It’s straightforward.”
“As you know, that is not my ad,” Romney said in response. “I don’t write that ad. I can’t tell them how to.”
Adelson was the largest donor to Gingrich’s political committee, American Solutions for Winning the Future, giving $7 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group. Gingrich disbanded that committee when he entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Adelson traditionally supports the Republican presidential nominee, contributing to both George W. Bush and John McCain’s White House campaigns. Adelson’s donation to the pro-Gingrich PAC was reported last night by the Washington Post.