Sheldon Adelson to give up to $25 million to super PAC dedicated to derailing Clinton

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson reportedly will contribute as much as $25 million to a super PAC dedicated to derailing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid.

The Future 45 fund was founded by Joe Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball franchise and his wife, Marlene, and is overseen by the Ricketts’ longtime political adviser, Brian Baker.

The effort to defeat Clinton will focus on taking shots at her rather than promoting the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, the Chicago Sun Times reported.

The Guardian newspaper based in London also reported that Adelson plans to donate as much as $25 million to Future 45, citing an unnamed donor briefed on the PAC’s fundraising.

Some $5 million of the total, to go toward anti-Clinton ads, was reported previously by CNN. The other $20 million appears to be a new commitment.

CNN also reported last week that Adelson would give $20 million each to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC supporting GOP candidates, and the Congressional Leadership Fund, a similar super PAC supporting GOP candidates for the House of Representatives.

In May, Adelson bucked a substantial number of Republican Jews who opposed Trump, even though by that time it was clear he would be the party’s presidential nominee. Adelson endorsed the pugnacious real estate magnate and reality TV star and appealed to other top Republican Jewish donors to follow suit.

The New York Times reported at the time that Adelson was prepared to spend up to $100 million to elect Trump.

Where Jeb Bush’s Jewish backers go from here

Many of Jeb Bush’s supporters and longtime friends expressed their disappointment in the outcome that caused the former Florida governor to suspend his campaign on Saturday night.

“I’m very disappointed that the rest of America didn’t agree with me, but they certainly spoke,” Fred Zeidman told Jewish Insider on Sunday. “I always felt Jeb was the best candidate to beat whoever the Democrats put up.”

“Times have changed, the country has changed, the electorate has changed,” Mel Sembler, former RNC finance chairman and board member of the pro-Jeb Bush super PAC Right to Rise, was quoted as saying by Tampa Bay Times. “I don’t understand our country anymore.”

Just one year ago, Jeb was considered by many to be a leading contender for the 2016 Republican nomination. On June 15, the son and brother of former Presidents presented himself to the American people as an accomplished conservative leader with the best experience needed to win back the White House. On August 25, the Bush campaign launched the largest ‘National Jewish Leadership Committee’ for a presidential primary contender, consisting of 71 prominent members of the Jewish community.

As Donald Trump gained in the polls and dominated the news cycle on a regular basis, Jeb’s early supporters maintained hope and confidence that their struggling candidate would perform well enough in the Iowa caucuses and then ultimately win the New Hampshire primary. Despite spending a significant amount of time and resources in the Granite State, Bush came in with a disappointing fourth-place finish, barely ahead of Marco Rubio, who days earlier surprisingly wilted under sustained attack by his rivals. On Saturday, after finishing fifth in the SC primary, Jeb told his supporters, “The people of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken. I respect their decision. So, tonight, I am suspending my campaign.”

Jewish Insider spoke with some of Jeb’s leading Jewish supporters to hear their thoughts on Jeb’s campaign and the state of the race going forward.

“I am still very much despondent about Jeb’s unexpected departure from the race,” Thane Rosenbaum, an American novelist and law professor, told Jewish Insider via email. “I thought he was the superior candidate with the right attitude and policy proposals toward Israel, the Iran [nuclear] deal, and global anti-Semitism–issues that matter to me greatly.”

“Having been ‘Associate Jewish Coordinator ‘ for the Clinton-Gore ticket in 1992, against George H.W. Bush, it was ironic that Jeb’s was the first Republican Presidential campaign in which I became engaged,” Michael Granoff explained. “Jeb’s appeal across party lines as Governor (of Florida) played a major role in my decision because I believe political polarization is eroding the country’s fabric and hampering its ability to deal with very real national security threats.”

Noam Neusner, a WH Jewish liaison in the Bush 43 administration, shared his experience in the short-lived campaign of the younger Bush. “Working for Jeb was immensely rewarding. He is a great boss — lively and upbeat,” said Neusner. “He cares deeply about ideas and governing, and public service — and his staff and volunteers all could see it in everything he did as a candidate and before that as a governor.”

Scott Arogeti, who was appointed as the White House liaison to the Jewish community in the last year of the George W. Bush administration, had only words of praise for the former Florida Governor. “Jeb Bush is a patriot that ran an honorable, substantive campaign aimed at helping millions of Americans reach their full potential,” Arogeti told Jewish Insider. “Additionally, his consistent support for reasserting and strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship was genuine, and deserving of both our respect and our gratitude. I’m proud and thankful to have been a small part of his team.”

Members of the “Right to Rise USA” super PAC, took pride in their work on behalf of their candidate despite burning over $100 million in the past few months. “I’m proud to have supported Jeb,” Charlie Spies, the leading counsel to Right to Rise, related to Jewish Insider. “His campaign focusing on policy solutions and an optimistic vision that was an example of the best in our politics. It was also great to see President George W. Bush back on the trail in SC this week. Both he and Jeb have been steadfast friends of Israel and their leadership in a dangerous world is in stark contrast to the failed ‘leading from behind’ of the Obama administration.”

Jason Lyons, founder and CEO of the Wall Street Conference and a political expert, explained what went wrong for Jeb in this unpredictable political season. “We’re in a particular time right now when voters are very upset and looking for someone who says exactly what’s on their mind without thinking twice,” Lyons asserted in a phone conversation with Jewish Insider on Sunday. “Jeb is not that person. His message was not able to resonate since that is not part of his DNA. Donald Trump did an effective job painting Jeb as low energy. The irony is, knowing Jeb, he is anything but low energy.”

According to Lyons, Jeb’s physical makeup suggested the opposite. “You know, he lost a significant amount of weight going into this election and with all the traveling he’s done, one could make the argument that he actually had more energy than anyone else,” he maintained.

“It’s been a crazy year,” Jay Lefkowitz, a senior partner at the Kirkland & Ellis law firm, who also served as President Bush’s Special Envoy for Human Rights in North Korea, summed up the outcome of the recent primaries. “We’re seeing a political year in which both parties, voters are favoring fringe candidates. It could well be that the Republican Party is on its way to nominating Trump as its nominee, which a year ago was unthinkable.”

Looking forward, Ronnie Krongold, a longtime friend and supporter of the Bush family, said he’s confident Jeb “will continue to support conservative principles and the State of Israel, even though he is no longer in the presidential contest.”

“Jeb is a serious leader, who assembled a presidential policy team. I hope he stays in public life,” added Sander Gerber.

In terms of supporting any of the other candidates remaining in the race, many pointed towards Marco Rubio as their favorite. “I think Rubio is the most attractive candidate in the race. I am sure other donors will also shift their support to Rubio,” said Lefkowitz. Adding that the outcome of the Florida primary on March 15 will determine whether Rubio could beat Trump and win the nomination.

“The only one that I could foresee having the potential to build bridges is Marco Rubio,” Granoff stated. “Watching his appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations last spring, I was enormously impressed with his granular grasp of fundamentalist Islamic threats, and by his moral clarity. Likewise, I was impressed with his thoughtful response to the controversy surrounding Apple’s decision to challenge Federal authorities on the San Bernardino iPhone. It is my hope that, despite my discomfort with some of his positions on social issues, despite his young age and lack of executive experience, Senator Rubio will be able to parlay his eloquence and command of issues into an ability to inspire Americans across the political spectrum – and begin to bring them closer together.”

Former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman also announced he was shifting support to Rubio. “With Bush out, I’m clearly on Rubio’s team. I’m not sure whether that helps or hurts. I thought Jeb was the most qualified to be president,” Coleman said in a statement, according to Star Tribune. “But Rubio clearly is our best hope and most qualified to be commander in chief with Jeb out of the race.”

The rest remained undecided, saying they would need time to assess before deciding whom to back. The consensus, however, was that the Republicans must nominate a candidate who can beat the Democratic nominee in the fall. “You can put me in the undecided column,” Krongold told Jewish Insider. “Where I’m not undecided is with regards to the Democratic candidates. We must not allow either of them to end up as President.”

“We all miscalculated,” Zeidman conceded. “We need to sit back and assess who has the best chance to beat the Democrats.”

Lyons offered some deeper analysis on the state of the race. “It’s a three and a half man race,” he said. “I say three and a half because Kasich has to be still involved since Ohio is a swing state. It would be in the best interest of the remaining candidates to come together after Super Tuesday and decide who will be the nominee, the VP candidate, Secretary of State, etc. I would just add that Marco and Ted are very gifted individuals. At this stage, the remaining candidates should begin to unify the party. The Republicans have a real opportunity to recapture the White House if they stop killing each other one by one.”

If Donald Trump continues winning states in March, Lyons suggested that it would be time for the establishment “to rally around him as well and support him.” But he also offered some unsolicited advice to the Republican presidential frontrunner: “It’s time for Trump to tone down some of the rhetoric and start embracing the establishment.”

Granoff, however, said he would refuse to accept the idea of supporting Trump in the general election. Instead, he added his voice to the recent chatter around Mike Bloomberg running as an independent. “If the circus continues, and Trump prevails as the GOP nominee, then it is my conviction that it would be a moral imperative for someone richer than him to enter the race. Maybe someone richer than him who popularly governed the nation’s largest city for over a decade,” he recommended.

Son of George Soros launches Bend the Arc Jewish Action PAC…and it’s not about Israel

A Jewish political action committee  (PAC) devoted solely to promoting progressive stances on domestic issues in the United States was launched April 21 by the nonprofit Bend the Arc. The new PAC is the first of its kind among this country’s more than 30 Jewish PACs, most of which focus on Israel and the Middle East. Serving as the chair of the PAC’s board is Alexander Soros, son of billionaire financier and Democratic mega-donor George Soros.

The Bend the Arc Jewish Action PAC launched with $200,000 in commitments, its director, Hadar Susskind, told the Journal; it has already thrown its support behind four Democratic congressional candidates in the November 2016 election — Yvette Clarke of New York, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Rep. Xavier Becerra of California and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. 

Susskind said that the four congressional members were interviewed by Bend the Arc PAC before the group decided to support them. He added that Bend the Arc PAC plans to add more House candidates to its slate, as well as a few Senate candidates — but for now will stay out of the presidential race. “[That’s] not a reflection on [Hillary] Clinton or any other candidates,” Susskind said.

On the day of the launch, an opinion piece by Alexander Soros was published in Politico saying Bend the Arc PAC represents the political views of most American Jews, who, according to polling, are not concerned primarily with Israel and are among the most liberal groups in the United States.

“There are people, including lots of Jews, who are politically involved, who work through Emily’s List or Sierra Club or Move On, but none of them bring the Jewish community’s voice to the political table,” Susskind said, amplifying Soros’ piece on Politico. “People who are involved in the Jewish voice have, until now, only had the opportunity to do that on Israel and in Middle East policy.” Another Jewish PAC, the Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs (known as JACPAC), is based in Chicago and focuses on Israel as well as on domestic abortion rights and separation of church and state.

Even while polls show an increase in the number of Jews who have moved toward Republican Party identification since 2008, 61 percent of American Jews currently identify with the Democrats, while 29 percent identify with Republicans, and Susskind said he is confident the overwhelming support for Democratic politicians and policies will continue.

“You can go back every four years and, frankly, off-cycle years too, and see the same quotes from the same people who say, ‘Oh yeah, Jews are abandoning the Democrats, Jews are abandoning the Democrats.' It’s never proven to be true, and I don’t expect it to be any different this time,” Susskind said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate when anybody says, ‘Oh, I speak for the Jewish community.’ What we are representing, though, as demonstrated by poll after poll after poll, are the political views of the majority of the community.”

PACs have existed since the early 1940s, when supporters of Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Congress of Industrial Organizations. PACs are allowed to collect up to $5,000 from any single donor and may donate up to $5,000 to any single candidate, or $15,000 to any single party. Thousands of PACs exist today, and they’ve long drawn ire from many Democrats who say they play a corrosive role in American politics by flooding elections with money. 

Andrew Weinstein, a prominent Florida trial lawyer and Democratic fundraiser,

‘Ready for Hillary’ launches Jewish outreach

A political action committee preparing the ground for a Hillary Rodham Clinton run for the presidency launched a Jewish outreach.

Jewish Americans Ready for Hillary launched on Tuesday afternoon, just before the Shavuot holiday.

It is attached to Ready for Hillary, a so-called Super PAC founded in January 2013 by former staffers and loyalists to the former first lady, secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York.

Among those spearheading the outreach are Steve Rabinowitz, a Washington publicist close to a number of national Jewish groups who is a veteran of the Clinton White House communications team; Marc Stanley, the immediate past chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council; and Fran Katz Watson, a veteran fundraiser for Democratic and pro-Israel causes.

Clinton, who lost her bid for the Democratic presidential nod in 2008 to Barack Obama, has not yet announced her intention to run again for the presidency.

Super PACS may raise and spend unlimited funds but are prohibited from donating directly to candidates. Ready for Hillary has so far raised close to $6 million.


Pro-Sherman mailer labeled ‘despicable’ may have ties to Democratic Assemblyman Mike Gatto

A pro-Brad Sherman mailer sent out in October to Republican voters in the San Fernando Valley’s new 30th Congressional district features a shadowy and ominous-looking image of Rep. Howard Berman, Sherman’s Democratic opponent for Congress, shown alongside Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).  The mailer, which the Los Angeles County Democratic Party has called “despicable” and “divisive,” was created by a Super PAC that appears tied to Sherman’s former district director, Democratic Calif. Assemblyman Mike Gatto, the Journal has learned.

“If you love these politicians, then vote for Howard Berman,” the mailer says, before going on to claim that Sherman “has been endorsed by every Republican elected official in the Valley.”

Waters is black, Frank is gay, and Boxer is known for her advocacy on women’s issues and environmental legislation, and the Berman campaign immediately called on Sherman to denounce the mailer, calling it “offensive to women, minorities, the LGBT community and Valley voters.”

The involvement of Super PACs in the race between Berman and Sherman has been the subject of a heated argument between the candidates since the campaign’s earliest stages. On Jan. 5 of this year, Sherman called on Berman to sign an anti-Super PAC pledge for their contest, aimed at reducing the impact of the outside groups. Super PACs can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, unions and businesses as long as they do not coordinate their activities with any candidate or candidate’s committee. Sherman has since repeatedly criticized Berman for the independent Super PAC monies supporting Berman’s candidacy.

Asked by Warren Olney about the recent mailer in a debate broadcast on KCRW on Oct. 29, Sherman said he didn’t know who sent it.

“I got an email about it somewhere certainly, and I haven’t seen it, but it’s certainly not our campaign,” Sherman told Olney. When asked by the Journal on Nov 1 to comment on Gatto’s possible involvement, the Sherman campaign declined to comment.

The mailer states that it was “Paid for by Californians for Integrity in Government” and was “not authorized by any candidate, candidate’s agent, or committee.”

But according to an individual involved in running campaigns who spoke to The Journal only on condition of anonymity, Gatto had mentioned to him that he was chairing a Super PAC that would be backing Brad Sherman. This individual speculated that Gatto likely had oversight over the controversial mailer.

Mike Gatto in 2010

“If it’s Gatto’s money at the end of the day, he would have to OK it,” the campaign professional said.

After repeated requests for comment from Gatto on Wednesday and Thursday with a member of the Assemblyman’s district office staff, as well as on the voicemail of a member of his campaign staff, a text message from a member of Gatto’s campaign staff was sent to a Journal reporter stating: “Mr. Gatto has no official relationship with the entity you described on my voicemail.”

Gatto worked for Sherman for five years in the early 2000s, including almost two years spent as his district director and a stint as his acting chief of staff. He has maintained close ties to his former boss since his election to the Assembly in a special election in June 2010. Gatto is currently running for reelection against Greg Krikorian, a Republican member of the Glendale School Board.

Multiple donors to Californians for Integrity in Government, the Super PAC named on the mailer, have also supported Gatto’s election campaigns, according to records obtained from the California Secretary of State.

Of the 12 individuals, businesses and union groups that have donated to Californians for Integrity in Government, at least eight have also given to Gatto’s campaign committees in the past four years. Those same donors have also given to Sherman’s campaigns.

The two largest single donations to the pro-Sherman Super PAC came from the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, which donated $225,000 to the group in May, and S&S Business Holdings, a Thousand Oaks-based company that gave $100,000 to Californians for Integrity in Government in September.

According to records obtained from the California Secretary of State, S & S Business Holdings, LLC is located in Westlake Village and has a “Susan A. Mallhicoff” (sic) listed as its agent for service of process. An online phone book listing for Susan A. Malchicoff shows that she lives in Westlake Village with her husband, Sheldon A. Malchicoff, who is CEO of DEX, a supply chain corporation headquartered in Camarillo. According to data obtained from the Secretary of State, a “Scheldon(sic) Malchicoff” from Westlake, who was described as the CEO of Data Exchange Corp., donated $1,000 to Gatto in February 2010.

The Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, which represents 65,000 union carpenters in six states, has endorsed both Sherman and Gatto in their races this year and supported Gatto monetarily in both of the last two election cycles, donating $7,800 to his committee in 2010, $1,000 in 2011 and $3,900 in 2012.

A request for an interview with Sheldon Malchicoff on Wednesday got no response, as did a request for comment from the Carpenters union group on Wednesday afternoon.

Records from the Federal Election Commission show that even as Sherman publicly pushed Berman to reject Super PAC support, Californians for Integrity in Government was setting up shop and raising money on Sherman’s behalf.

The group’s first filing to the FEC is dated Jan. 3, two days before a debate at which Sherman presented a poster-sized reproduction of his pledge before Berman and two other candidates.

On Feb. 6, Sherman’s campaign put out a press release challenging Berman to sign the Super PAC pledge. Californians for Integrity in Government received its first donation later that month. By the end of May, the pro-Sherman Super PAC had raised $270,000, all of it from donors who had also given to Gatto’s campaigns.

On May 7, the Sherman campaign submitted a formal complaint to the FEC alleging that Berman had illegally coordinated activities with one of the pro-Berman Super PACs.

Californians for Integrity in Government’s first donation of $25,000 was made in February by a Montebello-based business called PF Heritage, LLC, which had donated a total of $100,000 as of Oct. 31. According to records obtained from the California Secretary of State, the registered agent of service for PF Heritage is Igor Pasternak, who is also the founder and CEO of an airship manufacturer called Aeroscraft, which is located at the same address as PF Heritage.

Pasternak, who lives in Tarzana, inside the new 30th Congressional district, donated $2,400 to Gatto in 2009. Aeroscraft’s CPA, Carrie Cass, also donated $2,400 to Gatto that year.

Messages requesting comment on Wednesday left at Aeroscraft’s offices for Pasternak and Cass received no response.

There is no evidence that Sherman or his campaign have coordinated efforts with the Super PAC or Gatto in a way that would violate election law.

In its initial filing, Californians for Integrity in Government did not describe itself as a pro-Sherman Super Pac. It described its mission as supporting more than one federal candidate. If the group had been formed to support or oppose only a single candidate – as the Committee to Elect an Effective Valley Congressman, a pro-Berman Super PAC, was – the group would have had to specify which candidate it was set up to support.

Such a disclosure might have drawn attention to the group earlier in the race, and might have given Berman information to respond to Sherman’s frequent mentioning of the pro-Berman Super PACs in debates and public appearances. Absent that disclosure, no one but the Super PAC’s organizers could have known of the group’s existence and its primary aim – to support Sherman and oppose Berman – until September, when it began spending in large amounts the money it raised over the preceding seven months.

The overwhelming majority – more than 99 percent — of the Super PAC’s spending has been targeted to support Sherman’s campaign against Berman.

Of the $460,000 spent by the group as of Nov. 1, only $5,000 was spent outside the 30th district, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. On Aug. 31, Californians for Integrity in Government informed the FEC that it had paid a campaign consultant to make an unspecified number of live calls on behalf of Gloria Negrete McLeod, a Democratic State Senator who is running for Congress against incumbent Democratic Congressman Joe Baca, in California’s new 35th district.  

Every other expenditure made by Californians for Integrity in Government has been directed at the 30th district race, all in the form of either pro-Sherman or anti-Berman mailers. The group has spent $263,000 on mailers opposing Berman and $191,000 on mailers supporting Sherman.

Gatto’s name does not appear on any document associated with the group. Shawnda Deane, the committee’s treasurer, reached by phone at her office in Sacramento on Wednesday, declined to answer questions but offered to send a link to a Web site for the group and to pass on a message to the people behind it.

No email was ever received by The Journal, nor did any other person affiliated with Californians for Integrity in Government contact the Journal.

Gatto is known to still be very close to Sherman. In 2011, Gatto followed his former boss’s lead when he introduced legislation in Sacramento that would have protected the rights of parents to circumcise their male children. He is also listed as one of Sherman’s endorsers on Sherman’s campaign Web site.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, who has spoken out very publicly on Sherman’s behalf, donated $5,000 to Californians for Integrity in Government in September. The founder and former president of The Israel Project, a pro-Israel advocacy organization, has commented publicly on the race, and about the recent media coverage of the controversial anti-Berman mailer.

When a gay news Web site drew attention to the pro-Sherman group’s use of “race baiting [and] gay baiting” in its mailer, Mizrahi came to Sherman’s defense.

“Any suggestion that Rep. Sherman doesn’t support equal rights, civil rights, marital rights, healthcare fairness and dignity is false!” Mizrahi wrote in a comment on the story at

In an interview on Oct. 31, Mizrahi would neither confirm nor deny that Gatto had been involved in soliciting her donation.

“He may have been,” Mizrahi said. “I think everyone knows that I’m a Brad Sherman supporter, so when there was a pro-Brad Sherman group established, I was an obvious person to call.”

Adelsons again donate $500K to Super PAC supporting Boteach

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife for a second time have given $500,000 to a Super PAC supporting Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s bid for Congress.

The Adelsons gave the money to the Patriot Prosperity PAC, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people with knowledge of the gift, after having given the same amount earlier this year. They also gave $10,000 directly to the Boteach campaign.

Boteach is running as the Republican candidate in New Jersey’s 9th Congressional District against eight-term incumbent Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.).

Boteach, who once was affiliated with the Chabad movement, bills himself as “America’s Rabbi.” He hosts a show on TLC called “Shalom in the Home” and is the author of several books, including “Kosher Sex,” “Kosher Adultery,” “The Kosher Sutra” and, most recently, “Kosher Jesus.”

Adelson has said multiple times that a candidate’s support for Israel is critical to whether he gives and how much. He has given $10 million to a Super PAC supporting Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, and earlier in the campaign put $20 million toward Newt Gingrich’s GOP primary bid. 

Super PACs can raise unlimited sums from corporations, unions and other groups, as well as individuals, and indirectly support a political candidate. They cannot by law coordinate with the candidate’s official campaign.

Soros pledges $1 million to Obama Super PAC

Billionaire George Soros pledged $1 million to a Super PAC supporting President Obama.

The donation reported over the weekend by The New York Times will go to Priorities USA Action. It reportedly was announced Sept. 27 at a luncheon held by the Democracy Alliance, a group of liberal donors, by Michael Vachon, a longtime Soros political adviser, according to the Times.

Soros also is set to donate $500,000 to two Super PACs backing Congressional Democrats, the newspaper reported.

With the donations, Soros now has given $4.3 million during this election cycle to PACs supporting Democrats, according to Politico — the largest donor on the left, it said. Soros donated $24 million to outside groups ahead of the 2004 election, however.

By contrast, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has pledged to spend up to $100 million to defeat Obama and congressional Democrats in the upcoming elections.

Super PACs can raise unlimited sums from corporations, unions and other groups, as well as individuals, and indirectly support a political candidate. They cannot by law coordinate with the candidate's official campaign.

Sheldon Adelson gives Romney super-PAC $10 million

Sheldon Adelson gave a pro-Mitt Romney super-PAC $10 million.

The donation to Restore Our Future, a political action committee that works parallel to the Romney campaign, was reported by multiple media on Wednesday and fulfills the casino magnate’s promise to throw his weight behind whomever was the Republican presidential nominee.

Earlier in the primaries campaign, similar infusions of cash helped prop up Newt Gingrich’s effort to topple Romney from his front-runner status.

Adelson has said multiple times that a candidate’s support for Israel is critical to whether he gives and how much.

Romney and Adelson met last month.

Opinion: Can’t buy me love

It feels like spring, but there’s little love in the air for Mitt Romney.  The GOP frontrunner expected to have his party’s nomination sewn up by now so he could focus on sending Barack Obama back to Chicago.  But too many Republicans just can’t find it in their hearts to embrace the former Massachusetts governor and are still hoping someone will come along who can make them fall in love. 

The enthusiasm deficit has haunted him throughout the long and winding primary season.  It’s been said he has the charisma of Bob Dole, the GOP’s losing 1996 candidate and the aura of a loser.

But there’s a stronger emotion than love in this election; it’s loathing, and that is what Romney is counting on to lock up the nomination – and what the GOP is counting on to get out the vote against Obama.

Spreading fear and loathing has been the hallmark of the Romney campaign, and nearly all has been aimed at his Republican rivals.  The super PAC run by his friends and former aides has spent more than 90 percent of its money on ads trashing his rivals.

Romney’s rivals have responded with a shots few of their own, and you can bet the Obama campaign’s opposition research team in Chicago is collecting them for use this fall.

The primaries are expected to cost Romney about $75 million, but he has been raising more money than all his rivals and that will only improve after he locks up the nomination.

Newt Gingrich’s —and Bibi Netanyahu’s—most generous benefactors ($11 million plus), casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his wife are expected to shift their spending to Romney as soon as the former Speaker drops out of the race.

Most big Jewish GOP givers are backing Romney, according to a report in the Forward.  More than 10 percent of the $36 million raised by his super PAC came from Jewish donors, primarily ordinary people like Romney: mega-wealthy private equity investors, hedge fund managers and real estate developers.

Mitt’s money may not be able to buy love, but it can buy a lot of votes in what is expected to be a billion-dollar presidential election. Each campaign has its stable of billionaires, but Obama has what Romney lacks: a large network of small contributors, a sign of grass roots support.

The tough primary season has made Romney a better debater and campaigner, but it also has exposed two big weaknesses.  He has failed to connect with people on a personal level (and judging by the allocation of spending he hasn’t tried very hard) and he has demonstrated what one Republican operative and former advisor called a “generous flexibility” on the issues, a desire to do what’s popular rather than what’s right. That explains his failure to criticize Rush Limbaugh’s recent display of misogyny.

Romney faces a big problem in following the Nixon dictum: run to the right for the nomination and the center for the general election.  Most candidates can do it with guiltless ease, but Romney has moved so far from his roots as a Massachusetts moderate to being a self-defined “severely conservative” that making a U-turn could damage him on both ends.

The GOP’s ultra-conservative/tea party wing has had trouble accepting him despite his efforts to convince them of his ideological purity, and they may feel betrayed when he turns his attention to the middle-of-the-road swing voters both parties need to win this election.

If they see him moving too far to their left they may try to teach the GOP a lesson and stay home, not unlike what the anti-Vietnam movement did to the Democrats in 1968.

Many in the GOP’s evangelical base are troubled by Romney’s Mormon faith, but there’s no evidence it will be an issue for Jewish voters, and no one is blaming him for his church’s posthumous conversions of people like Anne Frank, Daniel Pearl and Holocaust victims.

His rhetoric on Israel has been a transparent attempt to make Obama look weak, but close examination shows their positions aren’t that much different.  Romney just sounds more strident.  The Washington Post Fact Checker, Glenn Frankel, said Romney’s charge that Iran would get the bomb if Obama is reelected is just “silly-hyperbolic campaign rhetoric.”

Republicans don’t need to love Romney to vote for him.  They just need to hate Barack Obama enough, and that is what we’ve been hearing from Romney when he hasn’t been smearing his fellow Republicans.  The pro-Romney Restore Our Future super PAC has already spent over $30 million on negative advertising compared to less than one million defining the candidate and his vision of America, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll this month showed voters’ greatest concerns about Romney were “he waffles on the issues” and he’s “too wealthy and does not relate to the average person.”

Romney may have the charisma of Bob Dole but he’s generating a kind of pragmatic enthusiasm in the corporate boardrooms, big banks, business schools and penthouses.  The resulting flood of money may not buy love but will help fuel a highly negative campaign that will do little to change the perception that Mitt Romney is the champion of the one percent.

Adelson denies involvement in special caucus

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has denied involvement in the decision to hold a special Republican caucus in a Nevada county to accommodate Sabbath-observant Jewish voters.

Clark County last week moved its Feb. 4 caucus to 7 p.m., six hours after the state’s totals are scheduled to be reported. Among the county’s voters is Adelson, who with his wife recently donated $10 million to a super PAC formed to help GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich.

“In short, they had no involvement,” Adelson spokesman Ron Reese said of Sheldon and Miriam Adelson in a note to reporters Monday evening.

“For the record, Mr. and Dr. Adelson are not Orthodox, thus they could participate in the caucus regardless of time or location,” the spokesman added.

The special caucus was added after a member of the Orthodox community complained that he would not be able to participate in the caucus since it conflicted with Shabbat, CNN reported.

The caucus will be held at the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus, an Adelson-funded private school in Las Vegas.

More than half the state’s Republican voters live in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas.

Some 500 Republican voters are expected to attend the additional caucus. An absentee balloting system is in place for Nevada caucuses, according to Politico.

Miriam Adelson gives $5 million to Gingrich Super PAC

Miriam Adelson, the wife of casino and hotel magnate Sheldon Adelson, has donated $5 million to a group supporting Newt Gingrich for the Republican presidential nomination.

The donation matches one given earlier this month by her husband to Winning Our Future, an independent committee, or Super PAC, that is run by former Gingrich associates, according to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal citing GOP sources. Major media outlets confirmed the report late Monday.

The funding comes just days after Gingrich scored an upset in the South Carolina primary and ahead of a key primary in Florida on Jan. 31.

Super PACs can raise unlimited sums from corporations, unions and other groups, as well as individuals, and indirectly support a political candidate. They cannot by law coordinate with the candidate’s official campaign.

Miriam Adelson, an Israeli by birth, is a doctor who runs two non-profit drug treatment and research centers in Nevada and Israel.

Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., is worth more than $21 billion, according to Forbes magazine. He is a major giver to Birthright Israel, which provides free 10-day trips to Israel for Jews aged 18 to 26.