WASHINGTON – Last night, The Las Vegas Sun reported that Dr. Miriam Adelson, wife of billionaire Sheldon Adelson, will donate $5 million to a “super PAC” supporting Newt Gingrich. Combined, the Adelsons have contributed at least $10 million to the political group.
In part a result of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, super PACs are independent groups that can receive unlimited contributions, and spend unlimited amounts in direct support or opposition of candidates. Donations must be reported, but funds are often spent before reporting deadlines. Super PACs are often set up in coordination with 501(c)(4) organizations, which do not need to report donors. So far, super PACs are outspending the candidates themselves nearly 2 to 1, and are often run by friends and former colleagues of the candidates.
In response to the mega-donation, United Republic CEO Josh Silver said:
“Every child in America might as well throw away their civics textbooks that teach about the miracle of our American democracy. Billionaires are manipulating American elections more than ever and it’s at the expense of an honest open debate.
“Our elections have become a study in institutional corruption that is shaking the foundation of our democracy, our economy, and our nation’s future. Fat cats are buying laws, buying politicians, buying policies, and the American people are paying the bill. It affects both major parties and it must be stopped through sweeping reform.
“These primaries seem like they’re no longer about ideas and genuine competition, but about marketing budgets paid for by the super-rich.”
The contribution comes two days after a Rasmussen poll in which 58 percent of Americans say they support new campaign finance laws. A CNN poll found that 86 percent of Americans believe that elected officials are influenced primarily by campaign contributors.
About United Republic
United Republic is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to ending the corrupting influence of money in politics. In November 2011, United Republic joined forces with Rootstrikers, a group founded by Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, and with the Get Money Out campaign, an effort started by MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan, both of which share the goal of ending the domination of Big Money over the political process. United Republic has over 300,000 supporters. For more information: www.unitedrepublic.org.