US Election Commission Clears Sheldon Adelson Of Illegal Funds Charge
Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has been cleared of charges leveled against him which alleged that he had channeled illegal foreign funds into U.S. election campaigns. The Federal Election Commission has released documents showing that the commissioners of the agency voted unanimously 5-0 to dismiss complaints against Adelson. The vote was held after a staff report investigating the allegations was provided by the FEC general counsel's office.
Sheldon Adelson is the Chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corporation which operates a number of casino resorts in the U.S as well as in Macau, China. Adelson is also a major donor for the Republican Party and is reported to have donated around $150 million for election campaigns in 2012. He has also donated a significant amount of money to the current Republican campaign and has thrown his support behind Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
According to the FEC staff report, a complaint had been filed against Adelson last year that he had used illegal foreign contributions in his donations to the election campaigns. The complaint was been filed by a non-profit group called the Campaign for Accountability (CfA) after a Chinese national Ng Lap Seng with links to Adelson was indicted for paying bribes to an official from the United Nations. CfA claimed that Adelson’s election contributions were funded by organized crime groups who carried out their money laundering activities through Adelson’s Macau casino operations.
The complaint asserted that Adelson’ s Macau-based casinos had links with junkets said to be controlled by organized crime groups which could have resulted in illegal funds forming a part of the election funds donated. The CfA also highlighted Adelson’s links with Cheung Chi Tan who is thought to be connected with the Hong Kong triad. The FEC dismissed these allegations and said that it has found no evidence to support these claims.
The Campaign for Accountability later retracted its complaint and apologized to Adelson, but the FEC said that the complaint withdrawal would not halt its investigations into the allegations.
In a letter filed in response to FEC’s complaint, attorney Benjamin Ginsberg from Jones Day, law firm that represented Adelson pointed out that the claims had no legal or factual data supporting it. He stated that all contributions made had been from Adelson’s private earnings from the U.S. companies he owns.
Ginsberg also stated that that Adelson had never used illegal foreign contributions in an election donation and that he was acting in accordance with law which allows owners with overseas businesses to contribute. The letter also disclaimed any connection to Chinese nationals Ng and Cheung.
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