Political Animal


February 05, 2012 9:53 AM Sheldon Adelson Always Bets Against the Union

By Rich Yeselson

Sheldon Adelson didn’t amass a $20 billion fortune by making dumb investments—or, at least, by continuing to make dumb investments. The Timesreports that Adelson, who has known and liked Romney for years, is prepared to contribute substantial money to the Romney cause, and recognizes that his other friend, Newt, may not make it.

Adelson clearly loves both Romney and Gingrich’s fealty to the policies of Israel’s hard right government. But it’s also important to note that Adelson hates unions about as much as Ahab hated that white whale (except Adelson is sort of the white whale, too…never mind). Over 90% of the rooms on the Las Vegas Strip are unionized. The union, Culinary 226, is, arguably, the most powerful local union in the country, beloved by its membership, primarily, of housekeepers, and tolerated by the large game companies that dominate the strip.

Except for Adelson, who has rabidly fought the union’s effort to organize his properties. Oddly, the New York Times profile of Adelson didn’t mention this important part of his business career the other day (although a New Yorker Profile from a couple of years ago did). I mention all of this because both Gingrich and Romney share Adelson’s anti-union animus as they do his program for the Middle East. It’s no accident that Romney managed to trash the NLRB in his victory speech last night, and has adopted the old right insult, “union stooges”, to describe the members of the board.

You can sure that Adelson was listening—and smiling.


  • T2 on February 05, 2012 10:10 AM:

    Adelson gives millions of dollars to Newt Gingrich and you say he isn't a FOOL?

  • Danp on February 05, 2012 10:14 AM:

    God I hate it when computers hang up on me in mid-sentence.

  • AndThenThere'sThat on February 05, 2012 10:14 AM:

    Adelson, who has known and liked Romney for years, is prepared to contribute substantial money to the Romney cause

    After all, Mitt's a national treasure. Plus we all know how Mormons love to gamble.

  • bdop4 on February 05, 2012 10:15 AM:

    Sheldon Adelson giving Newt Gingrich $10 million is like one of us giving a candidate $100. To him, it was worth doing just to hold Mitt's feet to the fire during the primaries.

    As long as Mitt kisses the ring and swears fealty to Israel, he'll give him $10 million and more.

  • hells littlest angel on February 05, 2012 10:29 AM:

    I wonder if that ten million bought a promise from Gingrich to endorse Romney and not run as an independent when Gingrich loses. I would enjoy seeing the shit-eating grin on Gingrich's face if he has to suck up to Romney.

  • bob h on February 05, 2012 11:15 AM:

    How smart is it for a Presidential candidate to use the phrase "union stooges" in the battle for the hearts and minds of the blue collar whites? Unpresidential, I would say.

    Obama can also run against the likes of the vulgar Adelson, the Koch Brothers, and others of their ilk as constituting a secretive cabal of right-wing extremists out to buy the election for Romney.

  • CJ on February 05, 2012 11:29 AM:

    I watched Gingrich's interview on Meet the Press this morning (I generally boycott MTP, but I was channel surfing...). David Gregory did not mention or ask Gingrich about his long meeting over the weekend with Adelson.

    The man has been bankrolling Gingrich's campaign, supposedly independently via a SuperPac, and then Gingrich meets with the guy for hours. Nobody can prove they broke the law. But Gingrich should be hammered for the meeting and the press should continue to keep people informed about the scandal that is SuperPacs.

  • Patrick Star on February 05, 2012 11:51 AM:

    I'm a Teamster, and the thought of a Romney or Gingrich presidency is terrifying as a union member. Citizens United is a complete joke, in that the Supreme Court, or rather, the wingnut faction of the SC, valued corporate and union money equally, when in reality union power has been declining steadily over the years, while corporate money and influence have skyrocketed. Someone, if not the Democrats, needs to make the case to the American people that the only thing standing in the way of a complete corporate takeover of our political system is the unions, as flawed and weakened and under attack as they are.

  • TCinLA on February 05, 2012 12:02 PM:

    If Adelson had been around at any time during the Old Testament days, he'd have been the "Jew" the Jewish prophets would have held up as what not to do or be. He's about as "Jewish" as Hitler was "Christian."

  • James on February 05, 2012 12:03 PM:

    This is good information. I was unaware -- although certainly aware generally of the anti-union hatred in the GOP. Thanks for this post.

  • DAY on February 05, 2012 12:30 PM:

    Ah, the good old days- when ALL campaign literature sported a union label!

  • DRF on February 05, 2012 2:26 PM:

    Romney's calling the NLRB Board Members "union stooges" is grossly insulting and typical of his and the Republicans' demonization of their opposition. Imagine the outcry if Obama had referred to Republican members of the NLRB or Republican appointed members of any agency as "hacks" or "stooges"; the outcry from Republicans would have been loud and continuous.

    The coarsening of public discourse by the GOP is appalling. They feel free to, not just disagree, but insult members of the opposition as well as entire states.

  • berttheclock on February 05, 2012 2:27 PM:

    You mention his fight with Culinary 226, but, did he, also, have problems with the Teamsters after he built his own convention center? The Teamsters have had control of convention setups and teardowns for years, including Comdex which Adelson formerly owned.

  • bluestatedon on February 05, 2012 3:16 PM:

    "Oddly, the New York Times profile of Adelson didn’t mention this important part of his business career the other day..."

    I'm shocked—shocked I tell you—that the NY Times studiously refuses to engage in anything that could constitute "journalism."

  • v98max on February 06, 2012 2:40 AM:

    A man sits down at a $15 Blackjack table at the Venetian Las Vegas. He wins 12 hands and loses 15, betting the table minimum. If his net worth is the US median of about $100,000, then he just burned through a bigger share of his wealth on Sheldon Adelson's table than the $10 million Mr. Adelson (worth $23.3 billion) has blown on Newt Gingrich. I see little evidence that Mr. Adelson's donation serves any higher purpose than entertainment.