Billionaire Las Vegas Sands Corp. CEO Sheldon Adelson kept up his major giving to Republican candidates and groups in the 2020 cycle, putting him easily at No.1 among all S&P 500 index bosses when it comes to political spending.
Adelson, who is also the casino company’s founder and chairman, shelled out $26.4 million of his own money to the GOP, according to a MarketWatch analysis of the latest processed Federal Election Commission data, which cover individual contributions made to monthly filers between January 2019 and August 2020 and to quarterly filers, through June 2020.
According to more recent figures from the Center for Responsive Politics, the Las Vegas Sands /zigman2/quotes/208792014/composite LVS +1.41% chief executive and his wife, Miriam Adelson, have given $172.7 million overall to Republicans in the 2020 cycle. That includes $75 million for a super PAC supporting President Donald Trump, and $50 million for a super PAC backing Republican senators, according to the nonpartisan center.
The Adelsons “rank among the top political mega-donors of the post-Citizens United world,” said Michael Beckel, research director at Issue One, referring to a landmark 2010 Supreme Court ruling that rolled back limits on political spending.
“Few other Americans have invested as much money into the political process in the past decade as the Adelsons have. Through his political spending, Sheldon Adelson has worked to advance a number of causes that are near to his heart, from issues affecting the gambling industry to foreign-policy issues about Israel,” added Beckel, whose nonprofit group aims to reduce the influence of big money in politics.
S&P 500 CEOs spending the most on the 2020 elections — the top 10
|CEO||Company||Political spending||Recipients: D vs. R|
|1. Sheldon Adelson||Las Vegas Sands||$26,375,700||100% R|
|2. Jeffrey Sprecher||Intercontinental Exchange||$2,597,400||100% R|
|3. Steven Roth||Vornado Realty Trust||$1,374,541||99% R|
|4. Reed Hastings||Netflix||$694,600||100% D|
|5. Jay Adair||Copart||$385,600||100% R|
|6. Fred Smith||FedEx||$365,700||98% R|
|7. Bob Iger*||Disney||$363,000||100% D|
|8. James Herbert II||First Republic Bank||$345,700||100% R|
|9. David Zaslav||Discovery||$343,250||98% D|
|10. John Hess||Hess||$338,041||100% R|
* Former CEO who held the position during the FEC’s 2020 election cycle that started Jan. 1, 2019
Source: MarketWatch analysis of processed Federal Election Commission data on individual contributions made between January 2019 and August 2020
A Las Vegas Sands spokeswoman didn’t respond to requests for comment, and Adelson, an 87-year-old with an estimated net worth of $31 billion , last month said, “We don’t answer political questions,” when a Wall Street analyst asked about Tuesday’s election during an earnings conference call.
But the Adelsons have spoken out at other times. For example, Miriam Adelson, 75, praised the Trump administration’s pro-Israel moves in an opinion column last year, as she suggested the Jewish bible ought to get a “Book of Trump.”
In the 2018 midterm elections, Amazon.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN -0.03% CEO Jeff Bezos ranked No. 1 among S&P 500 CEOs in political spending, as he gave $10 million of his own money to a nonpartisan super PAC that aims to elect military veterans to Congress. Las Vegas Sands wasn’t part of the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.56% at that time, as the casino company joined the stock index in 2019.