WASHINGTON – A deep-pocketed casino mogul is pouring a $10 million infusion of cash into a group backing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s cause just as the Romney campaign makes its largest ad buy since becoming the all-but-certain GOP challenger to President Barack Obama.
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson made the $10 million contribution to Restore Our Future, an independent group running ads that support Romney’s campaign, two people with knowledge of the situation said. They spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because they were not authorized to discuss Adelson’s plans publicly
Romney’s campaign is spending $3.3 million to run television ads this week in seven general election battleground states. The ads began running Wednesday and will continue through the week in Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia, according to officials who track ad purchases. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Romney campaign has not announced the advertising plan.
While Romney’s team has run ads outlining what a Romney administration would do in its first days in office, his campaign largely left televised attacks to Restore Our Future and to Crossroads GPS, a conservative-leaning group tied to former President George W. Bush’s longtime political director Karl Rove.
Restore Our Future is staffed by former Romney advisers. The group has spent at least $46 million on ads backing the former Massachusetts governor in the GOP primary and since he emerged as Obama’s presumptive challenger.
A pair of 2010 court rulings eased campaign spending rules, allowing corporations and wealthy individuals to contribute heavily to super PACs and other independent groups.
Such groups raise and spend money freely on advertising but are legally prohibited from coordinating with the campaigns they support.
The majority of independent groups have supported GOP candidates. Priorities USA Action, formed by former Obama White House staffers to promote Obama’s re-election effort, has struggled to raise money and keep pace with its GOP-leaning counterparts.
Adelson and his family contributed $21 million to a super PAC promoting Newt Gingrich during the GOP nominating contest. Gingrich suspended his campaign in May and endorsed Romney.
Adelson has told associates he would keep giving to GOP causes but would consider giving only to groups with nonprofit arms not required to disclose donors. Restore Our Future runs such a nonprofit and a super PAC required to disclose donors. It was not clear whether Adelson’s contribution went to the super PAC or the nonprofit.