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Sheldon Adelson Invested in Fight Against Hagel

New York Times reports that secretly-funded groups are running advertisements against Obama's nominee for secretary of defense; while the Jewish billionaire is invested in the anti-Hagel fight, it is unclear whether he is behind the groups' efforts.

By Haaretz

January 27, 2013 "
Haaretz" --  Secretly-funded groups in the United States have been running advertisements against the appointment of Chuck Hagel to secretary of defense, with at least one of them describing him as "anti-Israel", "anti-gay" and "anti-women", the New York Times reported on Saturday.

Hagel, a Republican, is U.S. President Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense.

The report noted that Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson is involved in the fight against Hagel's confirmation, but said it was unclear as to whether he was funding the groups behind the advertis.

Adelson, the New York Times wrote, "is so invested in the fight over Mr. Hagel that he has reached out directly to Republican Senators to urge them to hold the line against his confirmation, which would be almost impossible to stop against six Republican 'yes' votes and a unified Democratic caucus."

Various independent and largely secretly financed groups spent well over $500 million during the 2012 presidential elections in an attempt to defeat Obama and the Democrats, the New York Times reported, making their failure seem "all the greater given the huge amounts spent."

"But while the donors have said they will insist that the groups they finance find lessons in last year’s losses, their interest and stakes in what happens in Washington have certainly not waned," wrote the New York Times.

According to the Huffington Post, Adelson and his wife, Miriam, spent at least $101 million during the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign, of which $30 million is said to have gone to Restore Our Future, the super PAC that supported Mitt Romney.

Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation and a longtime supporter of Israel, told the Wall Street Journal in December that he was willing to double his investment in politics going forward.

According to the New York Times, the "blitz" against Hagel is "of a sort that has generally been reserved for elections and some Supreme Court nominations" and has been unmatched among modern presidential cabinet appointments. The report added that the current efforts reflect the continuing effects of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision that "loosened campaign finance restrictions and was a major reason for the record spending by outside groups in the 2012 election."

“This is the first big cabinet fight since [President George W. Bush’s nomination of John R.] Bolton,” Michael Goldfarb, a strategist for the Emergency Committee for Israel, a conservative group opposed to Hagel, and a founder of a conservative Web site called The Washington Free Beacon, which is running anti-Hagel news articles, told the New York Times. “And things have evolved in the last seven years.”

© Haaretz Daily Newspaper Ltd.

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