Why is the largest foreign investor in China willing to put up $100,000,000 to elect Mitt Romney?
Sheldon Adelson has invested tens of millions of dollars in influencing the 2012 election and has vowed to spend one hundred million dollars to affect the outcome in November.
Given that Mr. Adelson primarily profits from his Macau casino, he could act as a Swiss Bank account for donations to the U.S. political system: we see who has the money now, we don’t know how it was passed to him.
Doing business in Macau is not for the faint of heart. Reporting has made clear that the Chinese mob is very active in Macau and, according to the U.S. State Department, Macau is a destination for the trafficking of women and girls from across Asia for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Many believe a person with a willingness to operate and ability to profit in such an environment could also be willing to funnel gambling losses of businessman at a casino to a Super PAC.
Given the number of seven figure contributors that are being investigated for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that is a legitimate concern. Any of these donors could easily serve as a donation shelter for foreign contributors.
But Mr. Adelson involvement is particularly noteworthy because he is both the largest foreign investor in China and the largest investor in the outcome of this election.
He is being investigated for possible violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and accused by a former employee of personally allowing prostitution in his Macau casinos. Mr. Adelson denies the charge.
This potential for billionaires to serve as straw donors for foreign money would merely be the extension of business practices to politics.
It is exactly the kind of scheme W. Mitt Romney set up at Bain in the Cayman Islands that allowed foreign corporations, including U.S. citizens setting up foreign shell corporations that exist on paper only, to avoid paying taxes in America on U.S. investments.
What would motivate Chinese interest in W. Mitt Romney being on the other side of the bargaining table as the President of the United States?
Because Romney has sat on the other side of the bargaining table with Chinese business and helped direct jobs directly and indirectly to China. Not only did Romney and Bain directly ship jobs overseas from U.S. factories, they invested in at least one Chinese company that was a pioneer in allowing other companies to ship manufacturing jobs to China.
Both Romney and China have profited greatly from their relationship.
How much? Well we can only speculate how many tens or hundreds of millions W. Mitt Romney has made because of Romney’s business strategy of moving U.S. jobs to a communist country.
The same is true of the possibility foreign money is coming into the 2012 election through billionaire donors and secretive Super PACs.
Efforts are under way to shed some sunlight on who is investing hundreds of thousands to hundreds of millions of dollars into our elections. Unfortunately Republican Senators – who have previously and strenuously advocated for disclosure in the past – are now blocking these efforts.
For as long as we have unlimited investments in our elections, the potential for abuse is massive. It took Richard Nixon, the Watergate scandal and the abuses of money in the political system for important changes to the financing of elections beginning in 1974.
Unfortunately, now we can only speculate as whether or not there are illegal abuses hidden in the sudden rush of secret donations that have followed the Citizens United decision and hope they are not warping our political system and unduly influencing our elections.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.