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Casino mogul's $5 million check to pro-Gingrich group a harbinger of GOP help to come

Posted: 01/09/2012 3:47 pm

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The $5 million check that casino mogul Sheldon Adelson wrote to help his friend Newt Gingrich win his party's presidential nomination is expected to be followed by much more support aimed at helping the GOP's eventual winner, including several million dollars for a Karl Rove-created group.

Adelson's first $5 million to help Gingrich, who closely shares Adelson's hard-line stance on Israel and the Middle East, went to "Winning Our Future," a super PAC that is supporting the former House Speaker for president, say GOP fundraisers familiar with the donation.

But fundraisers close to the billionaire say he will pour at least a few million dollars this year into the super PAC American Crossroads, or its affiliate Crossroads GPS, to help the GOP nominee -- whether it is Gingrich or someone else.

Adelson, the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands, has been close to Rove since he was the top political guru to former President George W. Bush. Adelson wrote a seven-figure check in 2010 to the group's nonprofit arm, Crossroads GPS, say fundraisers with ties to Adelson and Rove. The group is not required to reveal its donors.

Super PACs can accept unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations and use the funds to support or oppose candidates, but are banned from coordinating with their campaigns.

Just how much more Gingrich's super PAC receives from Adelson is expected to depend on how the Georgian does in the January 21 South Carolina primary, where polls show he's lost his earlier lead to Mitt Romney.

Thanks to Adelson's support, Winning Our Future, as early as Wednesday, will launch a $3.4 million, hard-hitting advertising blitz, aimed at decimating Romney's job creation credentials from his years running a buyout firm, says Rick Tyler, a senior advisor to the super PAC.

Rove was also a consultant to Adelson in 2008 when the billionaire bankrolled most of the $30 million, pro-GOP election issue ad drive, mounted by Freedom's Watch, another nonprofit.

Ron Reese, a spokesman for Adelson and his sprawling casino empire, declined to comment. Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for the two Crossroads groups, said that the GPS arm "does not comment on who does or does not donate to the organization."

The super PAC American Crossroads is required by law to disclose its donors; in 2010 it reported multimillion dollar gifts from Texas homebuilder Bob Perry and Texas businessman Harold Simmons, among others.

The two Crossroads groups reported raising $71 million in 2010, and are trying to rope in close to $300 million for the 2012 elections - about half of which is slated to be spent to help the eventual GOP nominee for president, say GOP fundraisers with ties to the groups.

The Winning Our Future ad blitz in South Carolina will feature poignant interviews with workers who lost their jobs after Romney's former venture capital firm, Bain Capital, acquired them in buyouts. The effort is aimed at destroying Romney's self-proclaimed record as a jobs creator.

Romney has said that his firm's buyouts helped create 100,000 jobs, a number that his opponents and some fact-checking organizations have disputed.

"The message of the ads is that if you think that you know Romney, think again," said Tyler, who had been a long-time spokesman for Gingrich and served briefly in his campaign last year.

The super PAC message could well benefit President Barack Obama, whose supporters have run ads of their own attacking Romney -- apparently because they fear he has the best chance to defeat the president in November.

The ad footage will be distilled from a 27-minute documentary created by filmmaker Jason Meath, who worked on Romney's 2008 presidential campaign and helped produce pro-Romney ads.

Entitled "When Mitt Romney Came to Town," the film looks at four companies including Indiana-based Ampad, which were bought out in the 1980s and 1990s by Bain Capital, where Romney made his fortune.

The film interweaves personal statements from workers who lost their jobs with footage of Romney's multimillion dollar homes, including one in Southern California near La Jolla, that's being torn down to make way for a one that is double its size.

Comments from workers interviewed for the film include one woman who says Romney is a "money man and he is going to look out for the money people ... He doesn't look out for us."

The film's narrator attacks the "greed" of Wall Street buyout firms and at one point says that "nothing mattered but profits. This film is about one such raider and his firm."

The entire film will be posted in coming days on the website KingofBain.com, according to Tyler.

Gingrich has accused Romney of "looting" companies.

The Romney campaign has returned fire, criticizing Gingrich and his allies for their "attacks on free enterprise," and putting out press releases that highlight media reports showing the similarities between attacks from the Obama campaign and Gingrich and his allies.

The Romney campaign's press releases also skewer Gingrich for not adhering to his earlier statements that his campaign and allies would keep their message "positive."

The high-decibel anti-Romney attacks from Gingrich and his allies come after a pro-Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future, spent more than $4.1 million by the first of the year in early primary states, all in opposition to Gingrich, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission records by iWatch News.

The accelerating spending war between the two presidential super PACs reflects the new campaign finance landscape that exists since court rulings in early 2010 opened the door for corporations, individuals and unions to spend unlimited sums on ads and other electoral tools advocating for specific candidates.

The law bars coordination between campaigns and super PACs which are supposed to be independent. But super PACs like Restore Our Future and Winning Our Future were started by or include as principals long-time allies of Romney and Gingrich.

The $5 million check from Adelson was first reported Saturday by the Washington Post.

Continue this story and read more investigations at iWatch News

 

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