Adelsons fund more than politics

As much attention as Sheldon Adelson received for the estimated $93 million he gave to Republican politicians last year, he has also been a benefactor in the war against cancer and a significant donor to other causes, according to an analysis published last week.

The Center for Public Integrity examined tax records for various charities controlled by the Las Vegas casino magnate — one of the world’s richest men at an estimated $26.5 billion — and his wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson.

It showed the Adelsons’ charitable efforts “are quite far and wide and diverse,” researcher Dave Levinthal said. All told, the couple’s charitable giving in recent years exceeded its political spending.

■ The Adelsons funded the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation with $4.3 million during 2011. Most of the money was contributed to more than a dozen hospitals and universities that research cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and neural repair.

Since its formation in 2006, the medical research foundation has spent about $58.5 million, although less in recent years than when it was initially established, the Center for Public Integrity found.

■ The Adelson foundation that funds the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus in Las Vegas reported raising $8 million from July 2011 to June 2012. The 500-student school provides learning for preschool through 12th grade based on Jewish values.

■ The Adelson Family Foundation raised $22 million in 2011. It donated $21.3 million to a variety of Jewish philanthropies in the United States, and planned another $24.4 million in future giving.

■ The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Charitable Trust held almost $80 million in assets at the end of 2011, and distributed $19 million through other Adelson foundations.

The charitable trust also gave $500,000 to the George W. Bush Foundation, which designed and built the 43rd president’s newly opened library in Dallas.

■ The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse Treatment & Research Inc., in Las Vegas, reported assets of $6 million and a net balance of $133,142 at the end of 2011.

— Steve Tetreault


Former Sen. Pete Domenici says he’s surprised that he’s been shut out by his old friend, Sen. Harry Reid, but hopes to repair their relationship, tattered by the disclosure of a long-ago extramarital relationship.

The Republican from New Mexico was contacted by the Albuquerque Journal on Wednesday for a reaction to the news he and Reid were on the outs, at least as far as Reid was concerned.

Reid told staffers at the Las Vegas Review-Journal on May 3 that he refused to grant Domenici an appointment recently when the longtime but now retired senator tried to schedule a meeting.

“I don’t mention Domenici’s name anymore because of what he did to Michelle Laxalt,” Reid said. Domenici disclosed in February that he had fathered a son out of wedlock 35 years ago with Laxalt, the daughter of then-Sen. Paul Laxalt of Nevada.

“I’m surprised he had anything to say about this matter that happened 35 years ago,” Domenici, who still lives in Washington after leaving office in 2008, told the Journal. He called the newspaper back later to add he hoped his relationship with Reid might be repaired.

“I have occasion to call him every now and then. Harry has been a longtime friend,” Domenici said. “I’m sorry for what happened 35 years ago, and I look forward to any opportunity to talk with him about these matters.”

Domenici was 46 and Michelle Laxalt was 24 when they had what Laxalt called a “one-night mistake” that Domenici said was kept secret at Laxalt’s request. They disclosed it to the Albuquerque Journal in February, believing someone intended to make it public in an attempt to smear Domenici, now 81.

Their son, Adam Laxalt, is a former Navy officer and a lawyer in Las Vegas.

— Steve Tetreault


That the 2013 Legislature is becoming the most uneventful one in decades was clear May 3 during the Senate Transportation Committee hearing.

Chairman Mark Manendo, D-Las Vegas, was downright giddy as he jokingly asked witnesses “to take your time, have a drink” before testifying for as long as they wanted on a bill that would allow motorcyclists and bicyclists to turn left on red lights.

It seems these vehicles are too light to trigger the sensors at some red lights and change the signal to green. Rather than having the cyclists grow old waiting, sponsor Assemblyman Michael Sprinkle, D-Sparks, wants them to proceed into the intersection, wait two seconds and then cautiously turn left if no traffic is approaching. Eleven states now have this law.

Police all testified for the bill, including some former motorcycle officers who admitted they have had to break the law and turn left on red.

“Did you ticket yourself?” Manendo asked one officer.

Sprinkle’s Assembly Bill 117 undoubtedly will pass since it has no opposition. The Assembly approved it 39-2.

The hearing on the bill lasted a half-hour, and then Manendo’s committee adjourned for the day since that was the only bill on their agenda.

As of today , there are 21 days left in the session, and the best the Transportation Committee can do is talk about turning left on red lights.

No wonder Manendo asks cops if they ticket themselves.

— Ed Vogel

ABORTION TALK DRAWS ‘cruel’ messages

Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, said during a hearing May 6 that she has received “some very cruel and nasty and scary messages” since revealing in April that she had an abortion at age 16.

None of those messages, however, came from her District 28 constituents, Flores said during a hearing of the Senate Education Committee on a sex education bill.

Flores noted that 57 percent of students in Clark County receive free and reduced lunches and a large number of children live in poverty and may not have anyone to turn to in a crisis.

That is why she said she is supporting Senate Bill 230, a sex education bill that requires the teaching of medically accurate, age-appropriate information about sex, including information on where to get birth control.

She said her mother left their family when she was 9 and her sister had twins at age 14. Her father, whom she praised, tried his best but had little time for his children because he was working multiple jobs. Having accurate sex education classes might have helped her as a teen, she said.

— Ed Vogel


Assemblyman Harvey Munford, D-Las Vegas, received a standing ovation from the Assembly on Tuesday after returning from Billings, Mont., where he was the first African-American graduate from Montana State University 48 years ago.

He delivered the commencement address May 4 to the 958 graduates of the university.

Fellow Assemblyman Lynn Stewart, R-Henderson, called Munford the “Jackie Robinson of Montana.”

Munford, 72, said in an interview that there are still very few African-Americans at the Montana college, probably only about 20 in the entire student body. The school has more than 5,000 students.

He lamented on his arrival in Montana in the 1960s the lack of black coeds. Even today, just 0.5 percent of Montana’s 1 million residents are African-Americans.

At Montana State, he was a basketball star and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. A resident of Akron, Ohio, he had been recruited by the coach to play in Montana.

A retired Clark County School District teacher, he has been the District 6 Assembly member since 2004.

— Ed Vogel

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at or 202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC. Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at or 775-687-3901.