This is how our country works now. A billionaire with some serious legal and business concerns could really use some help from powerful political people. Newt Gingrich has a billionaire pal up to his hips in deals with the Chinese and a bribery case in Macau. Solution? Buy a politician. A Big Check, and Gingrich Gets a Big Lift
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and ERIC LIPTON
MANCHESTER, N.H. — For weeks this winter, as Newt Gingrich’s presidential hopes faltered under the weight of millions of dollars in attack ads paid for by backers of Mitt Romney, a small group of Gingrich supporters quietly lobbied for help from one of the richest men in America: Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino owner and Mr. Gingrich’s longtime friend and patron.
Mr. Romney’s supporters were also calling, imploring Mr. Adelson to stay out of the race.
By the time Mr. Gingrich limped into New Hampshire, some of his top backers had given up on Mr. Adelson and begun prospecting elsewhere, including among erstwhile supporters of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, to finance a counterattack.
But on Friday, the cavalry arrived: a $5 million check from Mr. Adelson to Winning Our Future, a “super PAC” that supports Mr. Gingrich. By Monday morning, the group had reserved more than $3.4 million in advertising time in South Carolina, a huge sum in a state where the airwaves come cheap and the primary is 11 days away. The group is planning to air portions of a movie critical of Mr. Romney’s time at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he helped found.
The last-minute injection underscores how the 2010 landmark Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance has made it possible for a wealthy individual to influence an election. Mr. Adelson’s contribution to the super PAC is 1,000 times the $5,000 he could legally give directly to Mr. Gingrich’s campaign this year.
Mr. Adelson was building his newest resort casino, the Venetian, and became embroiled in a battle with a local culinary union trying to organize his employees. The conflict soured further when Mr. Adelson helped finance a campaign in Nevada to pass legislation curtailing the ability of labor unions to automatically deduct money from members to finance political activities.
Aides to Mr. Adelson turned to Mr. Gingrich — known for his criticism of labor unions — for advice, said George Harris, who worked for Mr. Adelson at the time. Aides to Mr. Gingrich, then the House speaker, helped Mr. Adelson hone his antiunion pitch, and Mr. Gingrich was invited to Las Vegas to speak and be honored with a fund-raiser.
Mr. Gingrich endorsed the Nevada legislation. He also backed other legislation in 1998 to preserve tax deductions beneficial to the industry.
Read more: Billionaire Gives Money to Gingrich NY Times