On Adelson, no apologies

So the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had to apologize to Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson for allegedly libeling him in press statements. How could this happen?

Sure, Democrats want to embarrass Adelson – who may become the single largest Republican donor this year – by repeating scandalous allegations contained in a lawsuit filed by a dismissed employee, alleging that Adelson conscienced prostitution in his Macau casinos. Thus, Chinese prostitution money was flowing to Republican coffers, they said. 

A swift letter from Adelson’s lawyers produced an apology, and the removal of the offending blogs. That made Adelson happy, according to a spokesman, who added, “More broadly, this should serve notice to those who would attempt to smear Mr. Adelson by repeating the false and inflammatory statements of a fired employee – that is a very slippery slope.”

Actually, when it comes to Adelson, that’s an entire mountain range.

Democrats never even broached allegations contained in lawsuits that Adelson – who according to Forbes is worth nearly $25 billion and is the 14th richest man in the world – stiffed his former driver and members of the detail that protects his family for required overtime wages. (Adelson was dropped from the former lawsuit, but his company is still a defendant.)

But those charges are still being litigated. So let’s confine ourselves to the well-known things Democrats could have pointed out about Adelson.

For example, Adelson has elected not to sign a contract with the Culinary union, which is his right. But Adelson went further: When the Culinary staged a pre-opening protest at The Venetian, the casino’s staff demanded police arrest demonstrators, and when officers refused, Sands sued. A federal judge determined the sidewalks outside Strip casinos are public forums, but Sands appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court before being rebuffed.

Or the time Adelson took offense when an event hosted by Temple Beth Shalom honoring then-Mayor Oscar Goodman was moved from The Venetian to the Four Seasons after Goodman refused to come to the casino because of the union dispute. Adelson confronted Rabbi Felipe Goodman in his office and spoke to him so harshly it brought the rabbi to tears, Rabbi Goodman later told the Review-Journal.

Republicans are fond of excoriating President Barack Obama for not being sufficiently pro-America. But where are their cries of outrage at the online video in which Adelson says it was unfortunate that he wore an American and not Israeli uniform during his military service?

“I am not Israeli,” Adelson says. “The uniform that I wore in the military, unfortunately, was not an Israeli uniform. It was an American uniform, although my wife was in the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) and one of my daughters was in the IDF.”

What about the irony of Adelson denouncing President Obama for “socialist-style” policies while, according to Forbes magazine, seeing his own personal fortune jump more than any other person in America under Obama’s tenure?

“What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we’ve been experiencing for almost four years,” he said. “That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people’s lives.”

Of course, Adelson’s most lucrative casinos are in Macau, which is territory controlled by actual socialists. It’s there that Adelson’s company is under investigation for allegedly violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. But now, Adelson has pledged to spend millions electing the man who could appoint the next attorney general, who will oversee that investigation.

All of that to say this: There’s no need to reach for salacious, unproven details to suggest Adelson isn’t very nice. There’s plenty to prove that case.

 

Steve Sebelius is a Review-Journal political columnist and author of the blog SlashPolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter (@SteveSebelius) or reach him at 387-5276 or SSebelius@reviewjournal.com.

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