$2 billion price tag for US presidential election

US election

Along with his dominant presence in the presidential race, Adelson also poured money into super PACs backing several Republican Senate candidates in the final weeks of the election. More than $1.5 million in Adelson money went to a super PAC backing Republican candidate George Allen in Virginia, $1 million to a committee aiding Michigan candidate Peter Hoekstra and $500,000 to a super PAC supporting Sen. Scott Brown. All were defeated.

Adelson recently told The Wall Street Journal that he would double his $100 investment in Republican causes by the next election and he has the financial muscle to do it. His massive campaign donations are backed by his lucrative casino holdings in the U.S. and Macau. The most recent November quarterly statement of his Las Vegas Sands Corp. estimated that Adelson's casino revenues surged $1.11 billion in the first nine months of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011.

In late November, Adelson's company announced a special dividend of $2.75 a share in anticipation of the threatened "fiscal cliff'' rise in federal tax rates. The dividend move netted Adelson _ who owns more than half of Sands' 820 million shares _ an estimated personal gain of as much as $1.2 billion, according to financial analysts.

Adelson's role as the premiere fundraiser in American politics could be complicated by his casino company's continuing struggles with the federal government over tax revenues and Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission investigations focusing on possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which targets money-laundering and international bribery.

Sands' recent quarterly statement acknowledged the federal probes as well as negotiations with the IRS over "unrecognized tax benefits'' highlighted by a tax audit of the company's Macao and Singapore casino earnings between 2005 and 2009.

Sands cited a "possible settlement of matters presently under consideration at appeals in connection with the IRS audit.''

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