Las Vegas Sun

November 26, 2015

Currently: 44° — Complete forecast

More Adelson family members donate to PAC supporting Gingrich’s campaign



Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks during his caucus night rally as his wife, Callista, looks on in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 3.

Owner and operator of the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip, Sheldon Adelson, next to his wife Miriam, left, in front of Las Vegas show girls during the opening of the Las Vegas Sands casino in Macau Tuesday, May 18, 2004.

Owner and operator of the Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip, Sheldon Adelson, next to his wife Miriam, left, in front of Las Vegas show girls during the opening of the Las Vegas Sands casino in Macau Tuesday, May 18, 2004.

Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam aren’t the only Nevadans dumping big bucks into the effort to reelect Newt Gingrich. So are Miriam’s two daughters, and one of their husbands.

Yasmin and Oren Lukatz together donated $500,000 to Winning our Future PAC, while Sivan Ochshorn put another $500,000 into the political action committee that’s been paying for ads to trash Mitt Romney and promote Newt Gingrich.

Both Yasmin Lukatz (nee Ochshorn) and Sivan Ochshorn are or have in the past been employed by Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp.

The Adelson family would lead the state's soft money donations even without the whopping $10 million total Adelson and his wife donated to Winning our Future in January. Silver State residents haven’t been coughing up nearly as much for any of the other candidates.

The premiere pro-Romney political action committee, Restore our Future, counts a pair of Nevadans among its supporters. But banking executive Jerry Grundhofer’s $10,000 and Jon Byron of Reno’s $25 pale in comparison to the pro-Gingrich PAC’s take, and especially in comparison to the greater PAC picture: Restore our Future took in $30.2 million through the end of 2011.

Rick Santorum did respectably among Nevadans, securing $20,000 each from FSH Capital LLC and Frank Hanna, an executive with the company from Henderson, as well as $25,000 from Steven Mihaylo of Reno.

The pro-Herman Cain forces pulled far less cash from four Nevada supporters for the 9-9-9 PAC before Cain dropped out of the race.

Meanwhile, no Nevada names show up on the donor rolls for PACs supporting Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, or Ron Paul -- despite the success some of those candidates have had with direct fundraising in the state.

Documents released Tuesday provided the first clear view into campaign finance in the post-Citizens United era. The Supreme Court decided in early 2010 to strike limits on the size of financial donations that corporations and wealthy individuals could make to political action committees not directly controlled by a campaign. The 2012 presidential race is the first where those unregulated sums of dollars are in play, whether it’s buying up airtime to promote a candidate or making it possible to spare no expense in taking down another.

It’s not just the Republicans pulling in extra money: The pro-Obama Priorities USA PAC raked in $4.4 million through the end of 2011, though none from Nevada residents.

By law, candidate and pro-candidate PACs are supposed to remain complete mutual exclusivity and have no communication or coordination. In reality, the dividing lines are blurry.

Not all PACs are directly in the service of one presidential candidate, however.

American Crossroads and American Bridge are the biggest pro-Republican and pro-Democrat PACs, respectively; they support cross-party candidates and causes on various ballots and tickets. Right now, Republican Crossroads is wildly ouraising Democratic Brdge. Neither is getting much cash support from Nevadans.

But Nevadans were not completely oblivious to the non-presidential PACs in 2011 -- they just picked the ones where they could at least get a laugh. Steven Colbert’s Americans for a Better Tomorrow, which the comedian founded to lampoon the loosening of campaign laws, posted the largest number of individual Nevada donors -- even more than Gingrich’s disclosure report, since the Adelsons dollars have not yet been counted.

Four Nevadans donated to Colbert’s campy Super PAC campaign: Miles Arnold of Las Vegas, $1,000; Eugene Balmain of Las Vegas, $250; Mullaney Hardesty of Elko, $250; and Stephen Weckel of Las Vegas, $500.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy