Sheldon Adelson, one of the nation’s leading casino magnates, is giving $20 million to an outside group backing Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign, according to Politico.
The huge donation represents the “first answer to urgent pleas from allies to the former speaker’s longtime billionaire supporters,” according to Politico.
It also enables Gingrich to start airing ads in Iowa to counter a weeklong anti-Gingrich on-air assault that is taking a toll on his front-runner status in the Hawkeye State, polls say.
Over the last two decades, the former House Speaker has cultivated a network of a few dozen hugely wealthy backers who have poured tens of millions of dollars into groups that helped him maintain a foothold in politics.
A recent New York Times analysis had Gingrich in eighth place among the GOP candidates in terms of funding. That is unsustainable for a frontrunner, especially considering that Mitt Romney has roughly 10 times the amount of funding that Gingrich has.
His key aides are now asking those same donors to write fat checks to a suite of new super PACs they hope can spend big on ads to offset Gingrich campaign fundraising that had lagged behind his rivals’.
But Adelson spokesman Ron Reese denied the $20 million commitment, saying “there’s no truth to any speculation that Mr. Adelson has made a commitment to either contribute or raise this amount of money.”
Reese declined to comment on potential future political giving by Adelson on behalf of Gingrich or in general, saying Adelson doesn’t talk about his political activities. Many major donors prefer to keep their activity low-profile, though federal rules require super PACs to disclose their donors in the coming weeks.
Sources with direct knowledge of the $20 million figure, who requested anonymity, told Politico that Adelson planned to cut a check to one of the PACs as soon as this week.
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