08/02/2012 07:27 pm ET

DCCC Retracts Sheldon Adelson Allegations Following Legal Threat

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee retracted allegations against billionaire super PAC donor Sheldon Adelson on Tuesday after the casino magnate's lawyer threatened to sue for "maliciously branding Mr. Adelson as a pimp."

"In press statements issued on June 29 and July 2, 2012, the DCCC made unsubstantiated allegations that attacked Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of the opposing party," read a statement sent by the committee. "This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair and we retract them. The DCCC extends its sincere apology to Mr. Adelson and his family for any injury we have caused."

The retraction came about two weeks after Adelson attorney Lewis J. Clayton sent a letter to DCCC press secretary Jesse Ferguson condemning the "defamatory statements" made by the committee.

"Mr. Adelson does not tolerate prostitution -- let alone, as you have said, make money from it," Clayton wrote. "The fact is that Mr. Adelson has consistently objected to and maintained a strong policy against prostitution, a commitment that extends to his personal life."

Clayton specifically objected to statements issued by the DCCC on June 29 and July 2 referencing an Associated Press report that Adelson had "personally approved of prostitution and knew of other improper activity at his company's properties in the Chinese enclave." Both of those statements have since been removed from the DCCC website.

The DCCC isn't the first group backing away from the claims against Adelson. Last month, the National Jewish Democratic Council removed a petition calling on Republicans to refuse donations from Adelson after the allegations stirred controversy.

"Regarding our recent campaign surrounding Sheldon Adelson, we don’t believe we engaged in character assassination; we stand by everything we said, which was sourced from current, credible news accounts," read a statement issued by the NJDC. "Nonetheless, we regret the concern that this campaign has caused. And in the interest of shalom bayit (peace in our home / community), we are going to take down our petition today."

Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands casino empire, is the biggest U.S. donor to super PACs in the 2012 election cycle. The billionaire has said he's willing to spend $100 million to back Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.



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