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.
What We're Following See More »
Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."