Casino King Adelson doubles down on Florida GOPby John Kennedy | August 10th, 2012
Las Vegas casino king Sheldon Adelson double-downed on his $250,000 contribution to Gov. Rick Scott’s political committee by giving the same amount to the state’s Republican Party in June, according to campaign finance reports released Friday.
Adelson, who financed Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign and recently contributed $10 million to a political action committee backing presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, was among the top individual donors to the state party over the past three months, records show.
Adelson’s check to the party was posted June 4. A day later, the same amount went to Scott’s Let’s Get to Work political committee, records show.
The Florida Republican Party collected $9 million between between April 1 and Thursday, bringing its total to almost $12 million for the year. It’s also a big bounce-back from the year’s first quarter, when the party which controls the governor’s office, Legislature, Cabinet, and a majority of Florida’s congressional seats pulled in its lowest contribution total in three years.
The Florida Democratic Party raised almost $2.2 million in the latest report, bringing its total to about $3.1 million for the year.
Adelson, though, clearly sees Florida as ripe for casinos, with the entire gambling industry emerging as a potent player this election cycle. The Seminole Tribe, whose compact with the state would be effectively nullified by the approval of non-tribal casinos, also steered $250,000 to the state Republican Party.
The tribe also pushed $5,000 toward the state Democratic Party, records show.
The Republican-ruled Legislature has long been split on gambling — with the House overwhelmingly opposed and the Senate mostly tolerant of expanding card rooms, slot machines and the arrival of street corner internet cafes.
But the industry cash flowing to the state Republican Party also is only part of the picture.
Political committees guided by GOP legislative leaders also have been on the receiving end of big money from the industry, which then gets converted into campaign mailers and TV spots flooding Florida households as election season deepens.