Monday, August 6, 2012

Finally, an Explanation of Why Reclusive Casino Billionaire Sheldon Adelson Has Jumped into Politics

Fending Off a Federal Investigation of Money Laundering

One of the mysteries of the 2012 election season is the emergence of a Las Vegas billionaire, Sheldon Adelson into an active role.  Mr. Adelson has donated millions to fight the re-election of President Obama and has promised millions more.  Previous to this election cycle no one had ever hear of or cared about Mr. Adelson, who controls the Sands casino empire.

So finally we have an explanation as to the rationale of Mr. Adelson.  It seems his casino operations are under a Justice Department investigation (even though Mr. Adelson himself does not seem to be the target of law enforcement or accused of doing anything wrong.)

The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles is examining the casino company's handling of money received several years ago from a Mexican businessman later accused of drug trafficking and a former California executive subsequently convicted of taking illegal kickbacks, according to the people involved.

The probe comes as the casino giant, controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, faces possible legal trouble on another front. U.S. authorities are also investigating whether Sands violated U.S. antibribery laws in its operations in the Chinese territory of Macau.

Now one might think that by backing Republicans and Mr. Romney that Mr. Adelson would be making things worse for himself, since a Democrat is in the White House.  But Mr. Adelson is smart enough to know that career Justice Department officials are almost always immune to any political pressures, and that they operate independent of politics.  So had Mr. Adelson supported Mr. Obama he would have gained nothing.

But by supporting Mr. Romney Mr. Adelson can turn around and claim that any investigation of his operations is politically motivated and is a result of Democrats trying to punish him for exercising his right to engage in politics and support whomever he chooses.

The timing of the probe could open up the Justice Department to criticism that it is a politically motivated effort to discredit a major supporter of President Obama's opponent.

And of course if Mr. Romney does win, a new Attorney General could quietly drop any investigations of Mr. Adelson, a nice thank you present from the new administration.  What about the claim that Justice is immune from political pressure?  Well we didn’t’ say always, and certainly not when Republicans are in charge.

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