Out of all of the super donors that have given heavily to the 2012 election cycle, the most outstanding peddler of influence is casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who’s name is now synonymous with the phrase “money in politics.” Adelson has spent over $70 million on the 2012 election alone, which is nearly a fifth of what presidential hopeful John McCain spent on his 2008 presidential bid in total. Politico had a rare interview with Adelson, where he cites the motivation of his spending is that:
“[He doesn't] believe one person should influence an election,” he said… “So, I suppose you’ll ask me, ‘How come I’m doing it?’ Because other single people influence elections.”
Adelson claims that he is simply trying to level the playing field. However, as the interview drudged on, Adelson revealed his top five reasons for backing republicans across the nation, the most salient being the second:
2) Friends in high places: If Romney were elected, Adelson would have a powerful ally on the two issues he cares most about: the security and prosperity of Israel, and opposition to unions, including the so-called card-check proposal that would make it easier for workers to organize…
“He doesn’t care about access — he has access,” the Republican official said. “When these candidates sit down with him, they’re not just talking about this election, but about Israel in the future. He has the cause, and he has the money.”
Big moneyed interests, and specifically Sheldon Adelson, aren’t even trying to hide the fact that they are buying influence with our politicians. Politico further reports that Adelson also isn’t mincing words on whether or not he has any plans on slowing down:
[Adelson] plans to continue as the go-to sugar daddy for Republican candidates in 2016, as well. “I’ll be always available,” he said merrily. “The expression that I make a joke out of is that I put my money where my mouth is.”
Without comprehensive reform before the next election, private interests like Adelson will continue to try to sway the political process with moneyed influence. Given the history of campaign finance, each election tends to see more and more in terms of donations and spending. If politics are this obscured now, just imagine what kinds of figures we’ll be looking at in 2016.