Newt Gingrich says all the attention to be paid in Las Vegas by GOP officials and wannabe presidents this weekend to billionaire campaign donor Sheldon Adelson — a patron of Gingrich’s 2012 White House bid — is something that won’t go away until genuine campaign finance reform occurs.
“Whether it’s the Koch brothers or [George] Soros on the left or Sheldon,” said the former House speaker in an interview with National Journal on Friday, ticking off other campaign mega-donors, “if you’re going to have an election process that radically favors billionaires and is discriminating against the middle class — which we now have — then billionaires are going to get a lot of attention.”
Gingrich was asked about the gathering of some top Republicans in Las Vegas for what officially is the spring meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Some have even taken to dubbing the event the “Sheldon Primary,” for the casino mogul who almost single-handedly bankrolled Gingrich’s presidential candidacy in 2012 and is said to be looking for another horse to back for the White House in 2016.
In fact, several news outlets including The Washington Post reported this week that various one-on-one chats between the 80-year-old Adelson and potential Republican presidential nominees could be the most important aspect of the Las Vegas event.
The list of attendees includes former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, according to published reports.
So, what could be at stake in wooing Adelson? Independent analyses by groups such as ProPublica have determined that Adelson spent more money on elections in 2012 than anyone else in history. ProPublica determined after combing through Federal Election Commission and IRS records that Adelson and his wife, Miriam, spent at least $98 million during that election cycle.
The money went to at least 34 different candidates and groups, with contributions ranging from $2,000 for a Florida congressional candidate to $30 million for Restore Our Future, the super PAC that supported 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
ProPublica also found that Adelson gave $20 million to Winning Our Future, a super PAC backing Gingrich’s campaign before he called it quits; $23 million to American Crossroads, a conservative super PAC; and $5 million each to the Congressional Leadership Fund and the YG Action Fund, both of which supported Republican candidates for Congress.
Gingrich is not attending the gathering this weekend. But when asked by National Journal about all the focus on Adelson’s role, he said, “Sheldon’s a generous guy and he can attract a lot of players who want to come and hang out with him, and then they collectively attract a number of potential candidates.”
But Gingrich added, “The truth is, we desperately need an election reform which allows candidates to receive the same amount of money as super PACs.” House Speaker John Boehner is also expected to attend the event this weekend.
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Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz "will not have a major speaking role or preside over daily convention proceedings this week," and is under increasing pressure to resign. The DNC Rules Committee on Saturday named Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge as "permanent chair of the convention." At issue: internal DNC emails leaked by Wikileaks that show how "the DNC favored Clinton during the primary and tried to take down Bernie Sanders by questioning his religion."
- A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
- A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
- And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.
In an election between two candidates around 70 years of age, millennials strongly prefer one over the other. Hillary Clinton has a 47%-30% edge among votes 18 to 29. She also leads 46%-36% among voters aged 30 to 44.
According to an online tracking poll released by New Latino Voice, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump among Latino voters, attracting support from 81 percent of Latino voters, to just 12 percent support for Trump. The results of this poll are consistent with those from a series of other surveys conducted by various organizations. With Pew Research predicting the 2016 electorate will be 12 percent Hispanic, which would be the highest ever, Trump could be in serious trouble if he can't close the gap.