The extent to which a billionaire can buy his way onto the world stage was on dismal display when Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate who is a fervent opponent of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, took his seat beside the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, at a fundraising event this week.
Adelson has risen to prominence via his lavish funding of so-called super PACs, political groups that aren’t subject to many campaign-finance laws because they’re supposedly independent of the candidates and campaigns. But at a breakfast this week in Jerusalem, there was Adelson, a major donor to “Restore Our Future,” a super PAC devoted to sending Romney to the White House, right next to the candidate himself. The Federal Election Commission bars super PACs from coordinating directly with candidates. Apparently, there’s no stricture against sitting next to one.