Gingrich: Limit Billionaire Clout for Real Campaign Finance Reform

Saturday, 29 Mar 2014 06:26 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says that true campaign finance reform will occur when candidates running for office can raise as much money as the super PACs that poured millions into the 2012 elections.

"Whether it's the Koch brothers or [George] Soros on the left or Sheldon," Gingrich told the National Journal, "if you're going to have an election process that radically favors billionaires and is discriminating against the middle class — which we now have — then billionaires are going to get a lot of attention."

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, 80, gave $20 million to Winning Our Future, a super PAC that backed Gingrich's 2012  presidential bid before he quit the race, the National Journal said.

He and his wife, Miriam, spent $98 million during the 2012 election cycle — the most ever, according to ProPublica research cited in the report.

Recently ranked eighth on the annual Forbes billionaires list, Adelson has a net worth of $38 billion.

"Sheldon's a generous guy and he can attract a lot of players who want to come and hang out with him, and then they collectively attract a number of potential candidates," Gingrich told the National Journal.

This weekend, Adelson is holding a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, and many 2016 hopefuls are seeking to win his backing for a presidential contest. They include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

But Adelson's associates said this week that the financier was seeking a Republican nominee with broad electoral appeal.

After Gingrich ended his long-shot bid, Adelson poured $30 million into the Restore Our Future super PAC that backed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, according to the ProPublica research.

Gingrich, now a co-host of CNN's "Crossfire," told the National Journal that he was not attending the Adelson event.

"The truth is, we desperately need an election reform which allows candidates to receive the same amount of money as super PACs," he said.

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