Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp., which makes most of its money in Macau, told federal regulators last week that the company “likely” violated provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a federal anti-bribery law.
Amid a flurry of headlines, the company scrambled to assert that it didn’t violate the actual anti-bribery part of the law, but only accounting provisions. You know. Of the anti-bribery law.
Eh, let the lawyers tease it out. But here’s a thing: The admonitions of Adelson campaign cash beneficiary Mitt Romney notwithstanding, corporations are not people, my friend. A person — say, you — might go to jail if caught bribing someone. Corporations and corporate officials would not. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, companies and individuals violating the Corrupt Practices Act “may have to disgorge their ill-gotten gains plus pay prejudgment interest and substantial civil penalties.”
Speaking of bribery, immoral U.S. campaign finance laws are such that we will probably never know exactly how much money Adelson gurgled up to shadowy right-wing campaign organizations like those run by Karl Rove and the Koch brothers during the 2012 campaign. Estimates range from $100 to $150 million (and all Adelson has to show for it, btw, is a back-benching senator from Nevada; Dean Heller was the only Adelson-backed federal candidate who won in a truly competitive race).
Prediction: If and when Adelson and/or Sands must “disgorge their ill-gotten gains” or pay any penalties, the total dollar amount will be less than what Adelson pissed away on 2012’s parade of wingnut losers.
Needless to say, Nevada gambling regulators won’t make a peep.
In other acts of Adelson heroism, our area jillionaire has sued another journalist for libel. This time he’s upset because a Wall Street Journal story referred to him as “a scrappy, foul-mouthed billionaire from working-class Dorchester, Mass.”
As R-J columnist John L. Smith can sadly attest, a bitchy megalomaniac with a penchant for litigation can be a real pain in the ass for a journalist.
Yet there’s a warm-hearted side to Adelson’s occasional petty vendettas against mere mortals. When he files one of these suits, media accounts of the litigation necessarily repeat exactly the characterization that so offended Adelson in the first place. The great man has a sad because he was called “foul-mouthed” in print, which means media organizations are now putting the words “Sheldon Adelson” and “foul-mouthed” in print, over and over again, like this: Sheldon Adelson. Foul-mouthed. Sheldon Adelson. Foul-mouthed. Sheldon Adelson. Foul-mouthed.
The suit was filed in Hong Kong against a Hong Kong-based reporter. Press freedoms are more restricted there than in America, or so Adelson and his lawyers must think; an American-based reporter whose byline was also on the story is not being sued. Fortunately for the reporter who is, the Journal says it will “vigorously defend” her.
Sheldon Adelson wants to commodify democracy and crush organized labor. His Zionist zeal coupled with his limitless billions arguably renders him one of the most influential warmongers in the world today. I don’t know if Adelson is “foul-mouthed.” Part of me hopes he isn’t because it’s unsettling to think we might have something in common. But the journalist probably should have just left out the word “mouthed” in any case.
So’d ya get a load of Nevada Congressman Joe Heck begging Democrats to save Heck from himself?
Heck has steadfastly refused to even consider any compromise to end the mind-numbing theater of the absurd that is our federal budget impasse. The one and only alternative to stupid across-the-board budget cuts that took effect last week, Heck more or less explained in a right-wing newspaper recently, is to replace them with other cuts that voters won’t notice.
See, if Democrats would kindly agree to use smoke and mirrors to hide the cuts, then maybe Republicans like Heck won’t be blamed for a style of cooperation and compromise that consists mostly of stomping feet, holding breath and making toddler fart noises.
The budget cuts, on everything from education to meals for seniors, are estimated to cost Nevada’s cash-strapped government at least $40 million over just the next eight months. Thousands of Nevada workers, either employed by the government or under federal contracts, especially defense contracts, could also see their pay reduced by about 20 percent (note to government-hating, Republican-loving business owners: That means those workers have less money to spend with you).
The Latest Stupid, a.k.a. the “sequester,” was hatched during The Ur Stupid, the debt ceiling fiasco of 2011, when Democrats caved to $900 billion in budget cuts over 10 years, with no revenue increases, in exchange for raising the debt ceiling by an equal amount. That was the first part of the deal. Then everybody was supposed to agree on more spending cuts and more revenue, or trigger sequester. You see, there wasn’t supposed to be any sequester at all. There was supposed to be an alternative plan — one that included spending cuts and revenue increases.
That’s the process Heck voted for. And now he hopes Democrats will let him wriggle out of it. Joe Heck is sort of like a 5-year-old who gets so mad that he can’t have a candy bar that he throws his ice cream cone on the ground, and then starts crying and screaming for another ice cream cone as tears and snot merge with the ice cream he earlier smeared on his face because children are filthy.
Too bad Heck and Adelson don’t pack up their bitterness and take it away together to some isolated destination where they could bitch to each other about the Kenyan, the media, the safety net, kids these days or whatever else displeases them at any given moment, and just leave the rest of us the hell alone.
HUGH JACKSON co-hosts The Agenda on KSNV Channel 3, and blogs at The Las Vegas Gleaner.