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May 26, 2017

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Caesars joins Wynn and Adelson in funding pro-Republican group

Sheldon Adelson. Steve Wynn. Gary Loveman?

Caesars, historically the most Democratic-leaning casino company, has contributed $165,299 to a national Republican group that’s playing in the state’s five competitive state Senate seats.

Caesars Entertainment Operating Company, which Loveman helms, gave $90,000 to the Republican State Leadership Committee in September, according to IRS forms posted Monday.

Jan Jones, an executive with Caesars, said Gov. Brian Sandoval “made the request” for the donation.

The Republican State Leadership Committee has sent political mailers boosting Republicans in all five competitive Nevada state Senate races.

Republicans, with the help of Sandoval, are trying to wrest control of the state Senate away from Democrats. They need to win four of the five contests.

The Republican State Leadership Committee, which is focused on state level races, received a $475,000 contribution from companies controlled by Steve Wynn this year, and $150,000 in 2011 from Las Vegas Sands, which is controlled by Adelson. Both Wynn and Adelson are well-known Republican donors.

Given Caesars’ past Democratic bent, it may seem surprised the company would give so heavily to Republicans.

But last session Caesars felt burned by state Democratic leadership under Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, who’s now running for Congress. The company had collected signatures for an arena question to be placed on the ballot, but lawmakers decided to pass a competing measure. (The Nevada Supreme Court has since thrown Caesars’ question off the ballot. The Legislature’s competing measure also won’t be on the ballot.)

“Democratic leadership last session was very disappointing.” said Jones, former mayor of Las Vegas and former Democratic candidate for governor. “We’ve been very direct in reminding leadership on both sides that they don’t always have to agree with us, they do have to be honest and direct and not knowingly work against us.”

Caesars has given contributions to both Democratic and Republican Senate candidates, according to Nevada Secretary of State records.

On Sept. 19, the Republican State Leadership Committee gave $100,000 to Sandoval’s political action committee the New Nevada PAC, two days before Caesars’ contribution to the group.

Sandoval raised nearly $800,000 for his New Nevada PAC, including $100,000 contributions from MGM, Las Vegas Sands and Station Casinos. Caesars gave $10,000 to that PAC in October.

Other Nevada companies to give to the Republican State Leadership Committee in September include Ameristar Casinos, which gave $5,000; and NV Energy, which has given $15,000 to the group this year, including $10,000 last month.

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