Democrats to Sheldon Adelson: Please Don't Sue Us--We're Very Sorry
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has apologized to the casino mogul Sheldon Adelson for claiming that Adelson welcomed prostitution at his Macau resorts after the billionaire threatened a lawsuit.
The apology comes after another Democratic group, the National Jewish Democratic Council, backed down over similarly accusing Adelson of welcoming prostitution and injecting foreign money into the election. The NJDC was pressured by the likes of Harvard lawyer Alan Dershowitz to stop attacking Adelson, largely because of Adelson’s philanthropic contributions to the Jewish and pro-Israel communities.
Democrats have gone after Adelson because of his outsize influence on the Republican race. He propped up Newt Gingrich's run for president and has pledged $100 million to the Romney campaign.
As Talking Points Memo notes, the DCCC had published two blog posts with the headlines, “BREAKING: HOUSE REPUBLICANS’ BIGGEST DONOR APPROVED ‘PROSTITUTION STRATEGY’ IN CHINA” and ““HOUSE REPUBLICANS FUNDED BY CHINESE PROSTITUTION MONEY?” But now, the committee says that those statements were “untrue and unfair and we retract them.” Adelson’s lawyers had threatened to sue the DCCC for libel.
The Las Vegas Review Journal has more:
The accusation that Adelson had approved a "prostitution strategy" at his overseas casinos was raised in a civil lawsuit filed by former Sands executive Steven Jacobs, who was fired in 2010 from overseeing Adelson's Macau properties.
Adelson, the billionaire chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corp. who has contributed more than $36 million to Republicans in this election year, called the accusation "outrageous."
One of his attorneys sent a letter last month threatening the DCCC with a libel lawsuit unless an apology was forthcoming.
Adelson was "gratified that the DCCC has acknowledged its error," according to a statement distributed by Las Vegas spokesman Ron Reese. "More broadly, this should serve notice to those who would attempt to smear Mr. Adelson by repeating the false and inflammatory statements of a fired employee - that this is a very slippery slope," it said.
But the apologies don't mark the end of Adelson's troubles. He is currently under federal investigation for possibly violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for his business dealings in China.
For more on Adelson, see this recent AlterNet story on big Romney donors enthralled with Israeli militarism.