Sheldon Adelson, partial owner of the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, PA and the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., accidentally illegally contributed nearly one million dollars to a PAC intended to help Gov. Corbett win re-election in November. The money has since been transferred out of Corbett’s funds.
The Republican Governors’ Association (RGA) PAC received the $987,844 contribution from Adelson on December 31, according to Chris Brennan of the Philadelphia Daily News.
Ron Reese, the vice president of corporate communications for Las Vegas Sands, said the money was accompanied by a notification that the money could not be allocated to the campaigns of PA politicians because the state’s gaming law prohibits contributions to politicians running for state office from casino owners.
Regardless, the money was moved into the “RGA Pennsylvania 2014 PAC,” according to a state campaign-finance report filed not long after. Reese, therefore, attributes the mistake to the RGA, not to Adelson himself or to the Las Vegas Sands Corp.
RGA spokesman Jon Thompson claimed that the funds have been returned by the PA PAC, and described the attention around the episode as an attempt by Democrats to distract from the real issues of the campaign. “It’s clear Democrats are desperate to talk about anything other than Tom Wolf’s failed record,” he said.
The RGA Pennsylvania 2014 PAC was Corbett’s biggest contributor when he ran for governor in 2010, and has been his largest supporter thus far in his re-election. He received $1.6 million from the PAC in April, but Thompson assured critics that none of that money came from Adelson.
Aside from the Koch Brothers, Adelson might be the most despised political contributor among Democrats. The Las Vegas billionaire rose to prominence in 2012 with his substantial contributions to Newt Gingrich in the Republican presidential primary. He also made headlines when he hosted a group of potential 2016 presidential candidates, including RGA Chair Chris Christie, in Las Vegas earlier this year.