(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
The Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission opened the flood gates for millions of dollars of donations to political campaigns with virtually no oversight and no control. The Court sent the message that it was up to Congress to require disclosure of donations to political campaigns. So far, that has not worked out so well. But some members if the traditional and nontraditional media have taken the matter into their own hands and made public the names of the largest donors to mostly the coffers of the GOP and their radical agenda.
Most of those donors are billionaires who have only their own wealth and self-interest at heart over the needs and rights of the 99.9%. Yeah, damned some of those puny millionaires, too.
ProPublica, an independent, non-profit investigative internet news site along with PBS’ Frontline did an expose of one of those billionaires, formerly one of the most secretive, Sheldon Adelson. The article takes a look at Mr. Adelson’s casino holdings in Macau and possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act:
Where competitors saw obstacles, including Macau’s hostility to outsiders and historic links to Chinese organized crime, Adelson envisaged a chance to make billions.
Adelson pushed his chips to the center of the table, keeping his nerve even as his company teetered on the brink of bankruptcy in late 2008.
The Macau bet paid off, propelling Adelson into the ranks of the mega-rich and underwriting his role as the largest Republican donor in the 2012 campaign, providing tens of millions of dollars to Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and other GOP causes.
Now, some of the methods Adelson used in Macau to save his company and help build a personal fortune estimated at $25 billion have come under expanding scrutiny by federal and Nevada investigators, according to people familiar with both inquiries.
Internal email and company documents, disclosed here for the first time, show that Adelson instructed a top executive to pay about $700,000 in legal fees to Leonel Alves, a Macau legislator whose firm was serving as an outside counsel to Las Vegas Sands.
The company’s general counsel and an outside law firm warned that the arrangement could violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It is unknown whether Adelson was aware of these warnings. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act bars American companies from paying foreign officials to “affect or influence any act or decision” for business gain.
Federal investigators are looking at whether the payments violate the statute because of Alves’ government and political roles in Macau, people familiar with the inquiry said. Investigators were also said to be separately examining whether the company made any other payments to officials. An email by Alves to a senior company official, disclosed by the Wall Street Journal, quotes him as saying “someone high ranking in Beijing” had offered to resolve two vexing issues – a lawsuit by a Taiwanese businessman and Las Vegas Sands’ request for permission to sell luxury apartments in Macau. Another email from Alves said the problems could be solved for a payment of $300 million. There is no evidence the offer was accepted. Both issues remain unresolved.
Steve Engelberg, managing editor at ProPublica, talks with Rachel Maddow about the reporting in a new ProPublica/Frontline PBS collaboration looking into the questionable dealings behind the Macau-based casino fortune of big-money Republican donor Sheldon Adelson