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Group says casino billionaire illegally gave Corbett cash

A liberal organization filed a complaint against Sheldon Adelson with Pa. casino regulators.

Sheldon Adelson
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A LIBERAL political group yesterday accused a billionaire casino investor of making an illegal campaign contribution to Gov. Corbett.

Keystone Progress filed a complaint with the state Gaming Control Board against Sheldon Adelson, a Republican mega-donor and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp.

The group claims that an Adelson contribution of nearly $1 million ended up in Corbett's campaign account, in violation of the state gaming law's prohibition of casino owners giving political contributions in Pennsylvania.

"Mr. Adelson's contribution was massive, and strikes at the heart of why the political-influence restrictions exist," Nathan Sooy, a Keystone Progress adviser, wrote in the complaint. "I urge the board to act promptly.

A Gaming Control Board spokesman declined to comment about Sooy's complaint.

Adelson gave the Republican Governors Association $1 million Dec. 31. The RGA, chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, then moved $987,844 of Adelson's money into its state political-action committee, called "RGA Pennsylvania 2014 PAC."

That PAC was set up to help Corbett win re-election.

Ron Reese, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Sands Corp., told the Daily News last week that the RGA was advised that Adelson's contribution could not be used in Pennsylvania. He called the state contribution an RGA mistake.

Reese declined to comment yesterday about the Keystone Progress complaint.

The RGA quickly transferred the money out of its Pennsylvania political-action committee when questions were raised last week.

The RGA then said that none of Adelson's cash had been passed to Corbett's campaign.

The RGA Pennsylvania 2014 PAC has given Corbett $1.8 million, including $210,000 in December and $1.6 million in April.

Adelson owns 7 percent of the Sands Casino Resort, in Bethlehem. His wife, Miriam, owns 16 percent. Another 18.6 percent is controlled by two trusts in Sheldon Adelson's name.