Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate and emblem of the Citizens United-era of campaign finance, spent gobs of money on the 2012 elections--more money than anyone else in American history.
Exactly how much, you ask?
We don't really know, and it's likely we never will. Many of the groups that spent the most on the election aren't required to report their donors. But thanks to recent campaign finance filings, we can get a better idea.
We dug through Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service records and found that Adelson and his wife, Miriam, spent at least $101 million this election cycle. The money went to at least 30 different candidates and groups, with contributions ranging from $2,000 for a Florida congressional candidate to $30 million for Restore Our Future, the super PAC that supported Mitt Romney.
Adelson also gave $25 million to Winning Our Future, a super PAC backing Newt Gingrich; $23 million to American Crossroads, a conservative super PAC; and $5 million each to the Congressional Leadership Fund and the YG Action Fund, both of which supported Republican candidates for Congress.
One of the more puzzling contributions was a $1 million check Adelson wrote in October. The money went to Hardworking Americans, a super PAC that attacked Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat who had a big lead in the polls and was re-elected three weeks later by a 21-point margin.
A spokesman for Adelson's company, Las Vegas Sands, did not respond to a request for comment.
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