Sheldon's Latke Envy

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What’s a few million among friends? Sheldon Adelson says he doesn’t remember the size of the first check he cut this election cycle.

“I gave 5 million or 10 million – I forget – to Newt Gingrich,” the Jewish mega-donor told Politico in a rare interview published last night.

(A reminder, Mr. Adelson: It was $5 million, though your wife gave another $5 million a few weeks later).

Adelson, a billionaire casino mogul, has made $70 million in political donations so far this cycle, according to the Politico story. That number, which includes undisclosed donations to political groups that aren’t required to reveal the names of their supporters, brings Adelson close to the $100 million he has said he will be willing to spend during the race.

Adelson also told Politco why he had been spending so much money on the race. The casino magnate said that he fears retribution from President Obama in a second term for his support of Republican candidates. Politico also reported that Adelson is driven by a particular dislike for Obama, and by a desire for an administration that aligns with his anti-union and hawkish pro-Israel views.

The interview didn’t really break much ground. But it did reveal the possible real reason for Adelson’s animosity towards the White House: Latke envy.

“[If] I’m fortunate enough to be invited to another [White House] Hanukkah party, I want two potato pancakes,” he said. “Because last time I was there, they ran out of them.”

Written by

Josh Nathan-Kazis

Josh Nathan-Kazis

Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.

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