Adelsons Donated $33 Million in Final Weeks of Campaign

Wall Street’s Bad Bets on Election Mirrors Financial Losses
Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate, makes a concession speech during his election rally at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, in the early morning on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Casino executive Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam contributed $33 million to two super-political action committees in a last-ditch effort to elect Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., and his wife, a physician, gave $23 million to American Crossroads and $10 million to Restore Our Future in the last three weeks of the presidential race, Federal Election Commission filings show. President Barack Obama won re-election Nov. 6 with 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206.

The last-minute giving raised the Adelsons’ donations to at least $87 million, including an earlier $10 million contribution to Restore Our Future, the super-PAC backing Romney, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group. The figures don’t include any contributions they made to nonprofit organizations that don’t disclose their donations.

Their first donations to American Crossroads, the super-PAC guided by Republican political strategist Karl Rove, made the Adelsons the largest contributors to the committee for the period Oct. 18-Nov. 26. Also during that period Harold Simmons and the Dallas-based Contran Corp., which he is chairman of, gave a combined $4 million to the group, bringing their total to $21.5 million. Houston homebuilder Bob Perry also donated $1 million, for a total of $8.5 million.

American Crossroads raised $37 million in the campaign’s final weeks, bringing its total to $117 million. The super-PAC spent $42 million in the last three weeks of the campaign, more than one-third of its total outlay on the 2012 presidential and congressional races, and had $1.5 million in the bank as of Nov. 26.

Final Spending

Restore Our Future’s spending during the campaign’s final three weeks represented 30 percent of the $153 million it spent on behalf of Romney.

The super-PAC had about $840,000 left in its account as of Nov. 26 after raising a total of $154 million. Lawrence Ellison, chief executive officer of Redwood City, California-based Oracle Corp., contributed $3 million, as did Robert McNair, owner of the Houston Texans football team, who was also a last-minute $1-million giver to American Crossroads.

Priorities USA Action, the super-PAC backing Obama, spent $21 million in the campaign’s last three weeks, bringing its total spending to $75 million. It raised $79 million and reported $4.3 million in the bank as of Nov. 26.

James Simons, chairman of Renaissance Technologies LLC, an East Setauket, New York-based hedge fund, contributed $1.5 million to the group during the campaign’s final phase, bringing his total to $5 million; and media executive Fred Eychaner, a longtime donor to Democrats, gave $1 million, bringing his total to $4 million.

Labor Cash

The Laborers’ Union donated $1 million, and the super-PAC received $500,000 apiece from unions representing teachers, communications workers, electrical workers and letter carriers.

Spending by campaigns, political parties and the super-PACs in the final stretch ensured that the presidential campaign would cost more than $2 billion. This was the first White House race in which neither nominee accepted public funding for the general election and the first to feature super-PACs, which can take in unlimited donations.

FEC filings also showed the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent $760,000 in the first two days of November to the Missouri Republican Party, which spent almost the same amount on television ads for the Senate bid of Representative Todd Akin. That represented a shift by NRSC chairman Senator John Cornyn of Texas, who had said he was cutting off funds to Akin after the candidate said in August that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy.

Akin Support

Republicans had pressed Akin to leave the race, and Cornyn said “we’re done” in a September interview. Akin lost by 16 percentage points to Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill. An NRSC spokesman, Brian Walsh, declined to comment last night.

In the presidential race, Romney spent $105 million in the final weeks of the campaign, bringing his total for the election to $466 million, according to the FEC filings submitted yesterday. During the final stretch, he spent $60 million on media, $7 million on direct mail and $6.3 million on online ads.

The former Massachusetts governor also continued to pay down the $20 million loan his campaign took out in August to cover spending until he formally became the party’s nominee. The campaign now owes $1.2 million.

Romney raised $66 million during the campaign’s final weeks, including $33 million transferred from a joint account with the Republican National Committee and some state parties. That brought his fundraising total for the race to $479 million.

Romney Debt

Romney’s campaign committee reported a balance of almost $13 million as of Nov. 26. A campaign spokeswoman, Gail Gitcho, said bills yet to be paid will absorb virtually all of the unspent cash.

Obama spent $176 million in the final weeks -- including $107 million for broadcast, cable and online advertising -- bringing his total to $729 million. In the days before the election, the campaign transferred $762,000 to the Ohio Democratic Party, $636,000 to the Florida Democratic Party and $545,000 to the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Obama won all three states.

Bonus Payments

The Obama committee made bonus payments totaling $171,375 on Nov. 23 to four senior campaign aides. Campaign manager Jim Messina received $68,550, and deputy campaign managers Stephanie Cutter, Julianna Smoot and Jennifer O’Malley Dillon each received $34,275.

Obama raised $88 million, including $26.5 million from a joint effort with the Democratic National Committee and state parties, bringing his fundraising total to $733 million.

The president had $5.4 million left to spend as of Nov. 26 and $7.2 million in unpaid bills.

Both nominees continued to take in money from the sources that helped filled their coffers throughout the campaign, according to a computer-assisted analysis of FEC data.

Employees of Google Inc. donated almost $103,000 to Obama while Microsoft Corp. employees gave almost $97,000 to the president. Romney received almost $103,000 from employees of Bank of America Corp. and more than $72,000 from Morgan Stanley employees.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE