Sheldon Adelson has made more money during the Obama administration than any other American. Worth about $25 billion by FORBES’ calculation, the CEO of casino giant Las Vegas Sands has minted $21.6 billion over the last three years–more than Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Larry Ellison–as his casino empire battled back from the brink of default.
Not that Adelson’s giving Obama any credit for the massive gains–far from it. He wants Obama fired. Adelson has made headlines for keeping Newt Gingrich’s presidential race alive with a $11 million donation to his super PAC, Winning Our Future, (an additional $10 million is rumored to be on it’s way). It’s unlikely Gingrich’s presidential run will last much longer (even with the Adelson’s millions) but Adelson told me he’s prepared to back any Republican nominee (except Ron Paul) to get the White House back from the Democrats. He’ll likely put $100 million or more behind Romney, and possibly Santorum, to help the GOP battle Obama.
Why is Adelson so against the Obama administration? “What scares me is the continuation of the socialist-style economy we’ve been experiencing for almost four years. That scares me because the redistribution of wealth is the path to more socialism, and to more of the government controlling people’s lives.” Adelson told me in his office in Las Vegas’ Venetian resort this February. “U.S. domestic politics is very important to me because I see that the things that made this country great are now being relegated into duplicating that which is making other countries less great.”
Adelson is not the only American billionaire who made a bundle during the Obama years but still wants him out of office. Charles and David Koch, whose fortunes both grew $11 billion since 2009, have given tens of millions of dollars to conservative causes, and are expected to put their largess behind the Republican nominee. As my colleague Clare O’Connor writes: “America’s richest brothers are notorious backers of conservative candidates and causes; the nonprofit arm of Americans for Prosperity raised and spent $45 million on last November’s midterm elections. The group plans to double that spend on the 2012 election.”
Obama does have rich allies to aid him in this financial arms race. His biggest gun is billionaire investor George Soros. The longtime Democrat supporter has also minted $11 billion since 2009, bringing his fortune to $22 billion. As Daniel Fisher and Jon Bruner wrote, Soros is known for “funding a constellation of left-leaning ‘community organizations’ and get-out-the-vote groups” that supported Democratic candidates.
Adelson aims to counter Soros’ political influence. “I’m against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections,” Adeslon said. “But as long as it’s doable I’m going to do it. Because I know that guys like Soros have been doing it for years, if not decades. And they stay below the radar by creating a network of corporations to funnel their money. I have my own philosophy and I’m not ashamed of it.”
In addition to Soros, Obama has five other billionaire backers according to the Washington Post: Marc Lasry, David Shaw, Neil Bluhm, Penny Pritzker and Marc Benioff.
Here are the 10 Americans who made the most since Obama took office in 2009 (Check in on March 7th for the FORBES 2012 World Billionaire List)
1) Sheldon Adelson | + $21.6 billion
2) Bill Gates | + $21 billion
3) Mark Zuckerberg | + $16.6 billion
4) Larry Ellison | + $13.5 billion 5) Jeff Bezos | + $11.6 billion
6) Charles Koch | + $11 billion
7) David Koch | + $11 billion
8) George Soros | + $11 billion
9) Leonard Blavatinik | $ 7.9 billion
10) Christy Walton | $7.7 billion