Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012 | 4:55 p.m.
U.S. Sen. Dean Heller said today that he is unaware of the various federal investigations into the business practices of top GOP donor Sheldon Adelson’s company, but said the investigations are receiving attention because of his political involvement this year.
“I’m unaware of those,” Heller said of the investigations by the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission recently reported on by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
“I don’t follow it that closely. I would anticipate the only reasons those issues are coming up is because he is participating so much in the political process. That seems to be, in this day and age, the pushback for those involved in the political process.”
Pressed on whether he believed the DOJ and SEC investigations — which were launched in 2010 — are politically motivated, Heller said: “I think people get very nervous when you have people like Adelson involved.
“I’m just raising the question,” he added. “I’m not saying it’s true. I’m just raising the question.”
Adelson has become one of the Republican Party’s most important donors. He and his family have given more than $30 million to Republican Super PACs and other political organizations that have been active in both the presidential race and Heller’s campaign against Democrat Shelley Berkley.
Earlier this week, the New York Times reported on the continuing federal investigations into the dealings of Adelson’s company, the Las Vegas Sands, in China. The company operates a casino resort in Macau.
The investigation into whether $70 million from the Las Vegas Sands was used to bribe Chinese officials began in 2010 after a former Sands employee filed a wrongful termination lawsuit, according to the New York Times.
Heller went on to say that he's not a fan of outside spending in his closely watched Senate campaign. Earlier this year, he declined an offer by Berkley's campaign to reject Super PAC and other outside groups advertising in Nevada. He said campaign contributions should be limited to those from inside Nevada.
"What I would’ve liked to see in this campaign is we restrict ourselves specifically to campaign donations from within Nevada," he said. "Obviously that would include the Adelson family. But I'm the first to say we (should) limit this race only to donors from within the boundaries of this state."