Las Vegas Sands Corporation, controlled by top Republican donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, admitted in a recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing that it “likely violated a federal law against bribing foreign officials.”
The news comes just a few months after Adelson was in Washington, D.C. for a round of meetings with elected officials including House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). Those meetings, as Peter Stone at the Huffington Post reported, may have included discussions of changes to that federal law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Adelson’s meetings with Boehner and Cantor may be common knowledge, but one Congressional leader’s fundraiser with Mr. Adelson—Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)—has not previously been reported.
As Adelson and his wife were spending millions of dollars last spring on the 2012 election, McConnell appears to have flown out to meet Adelson in Las Vegas in preparation for his 2014 re-election, according to a Public Campaign Action Fund review of fundraising records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
Last March, McConnell's campaign spent $1,200 for a stay at Adelson's Venetian Hotel and $3,100 for catering at the hotel's Postrio Bar and Grill restaurant. Around that same time he took in $2,500 each from Mr. Adelson, his wife, daughter, and three other members of the Adelson family, for a total of $15,000. McConnell also appeared to received an additional $12,500 from other Las Vegas donors around that time.
Fifteen thousand dollars isn’t much when it comes to Adelson—or the juggernaut of a re-election campaign McConnell is putting together—but the real payoff for this visit will likely come later in McConnell’s campaign. Kentucky’s senior senator is one of the least popular senators in the nation, and one beneficiary of Adelson’s largesse, American Crossroads, has already begun an advertising campaign against Ashley Judd, the Kentucky-raised actress who is reportedly considering a run. American Crossroads’ advocacy arm, Crossroads GPS, received “between $30 million and $40 million” from Adelson for the 2012 election, and the group is run by former McConnell aide Steven Law.
We don’t know where McConnell stands on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or making changes to it, but with Adelson’s support for McConnell and this recent SEC filing, it’s a good question to ask. Given McConnell’s stance in support of policies that will lead to more corruption in American politics, we would not be surprised if he has Adelson’s back on this one.