Billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, donated a combined $25 million to a super PAC dedicated to keeping Republicans in control of the U.S. Senate, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission.
Sheldon and Miriam Adelson each cut $12.5 million checks to the Senate Leadership Fund, which is controlled by allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on June 15. The donations helped the group raise more than $30 million in June, giving it more than $97 million in cash on hand.
Senate Democratic candidates are outraising their Republican counterparts and raking in huge sums nearly across the board, but Adelson’s donation highlights how the two major outside groups charged with keeping the Senate in Republican hands have kept pace with their Democratic counterparts in the money chase, which could prove crucial as Republicans struggle to defend their 53-47 majority in Congress’s upper chamber.
“SLF has already placed the largest fall reservation in our organization’s history as we fight to defend our majority, and this month’s fundraising haul is an important down payment on that activity,” said Steven Law, the group’s president.
The Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic group controlled by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s political operation, raised a similar $30 million in June and has just shy of $87 million on hand. Its largest donation came from a nonprofit group that does not have to disclose its donors.
Both the Senate Majority PAC and the Senate Leadership Fund are super PACs, meaning they can collect and spend unlimited sums as long as they do not directly coordinate with political candidates.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which are subject to the standard $2,800 federal donation limit but can directly work with candidates, are also in similar financial positions. The DSCC raised just over $13.5 million in June and has $37 million on hand.
The NRSC, which has already started spending extensively in key races, raised $14 million and has $30 million on hand.
Adelson, who is often the single-biggest donor to GOP campaigns and committees, typically gives tens of millions of dollars to Senate Republicans each cycle. The megadonor and founder of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. is known for his hawkish stance on Israel ― he was heavily involved in pushing the Trump administration to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem ― and for fiercely protecting his gambling interests.
In 2018, a trio of Senate Republicans introduced legislation to essentially ban online gambling ― a major goal of Adelson’s ― not long after a massive donation he made to SLF become public.
Other donors to the Senate Leadership Fund in June included five members of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s family, who combined to give $450,000.
The biggest donation to the Senate Majority PAC came in the form of an $8 million check from Majority Forward, a nonprofit also controlled by Schumer allies. Majority Forward does not have to disclose its donors.
A trio of Hollywood figures also gave the group substantial checks: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg each gave $500,000, while director Steven Spielberg gave $250,000.