This seems like a bad movie plot, but apparently it’s all true:
1. Billionaire Republican donor Sheldon AdelsonÂ is involved in a lawsuit in Nevada about the corruptÂ practices of his casino in Macao. (Technically, it’s a wrongful-termination case brought by someone who claims to have been fired for blowing the whistle.)
2. Adelson has been fighting with the judge, Elizabeth Gonzalez.
3. Through a cut-out, Adelson bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the dominant newspaper in the state, keeping his ownership a secret until others broke the story.
4. Three staffers at the paper were then ordered to do aÂ hit-piece on the judge. No story resulted.
5. The editor of the Review-Journal then learned, by reading the front page of his own newspaper, that he had “accepted a buy-out.”
6. Michael Schroeder, who runs Adelson’s media empire, Michael Schroeder, and who also publishes a small paper in Connecticut, went straight to the printer of that paper, over the head of the editorial staff, to order a 2000-word piece critical of Judge Gonzalez to run there.
7. People quoted in the story say they were never contacted by the reporter whose by-line appears on the story, Edward Clarkin.
8. In fact, no one seems to have ever met Edward Clarkin in person. However, Schroeder’s middle name is “Edward,” and his mother’s maiden name was “Clarkin.” (No, serioulsy.)
9. A reporter for Schroeder’s paper quit in disgust.
Despite its comic-opera aspects, this story is truly scary. If plutocrats can buy newspapers to intimidate judges, what happens to the rule of law? And how much of Adelson’s media power will be exercised on behalf of his business partners in the Chinese Politburo? They made him a billionaire by giving him the casino concession in Macau, and they can take it away at a moment’s notice.
Here’s hoping this gets to be an issue in the campaign. I’d love to the Republican presidential candidates say what they think of Adelson’s behavior. Come to think of it, I’d love to hear Hillary Clinton do so.
3 thoughts on “Sheldon Adelson, “Edward Clarkin,” and the perils of plutocracy”
The lawsuit may technically be about wrongful termination, but the Department of Justice is keeping an eye on it and is already conducting an investigation for possible prosecution under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. If Adelson's lawyers haven't been screaming at him that he needs to settle the lawsuit, they should be disbarred for malpractice. Already in one filing related to the suit, Las Vegas Sands basically admitted that they violated the FCPA. My guess is that:
1) this won't end well for Adelson; and
2) it also explains why he's been trying so very hard to buy himself a pet president, to call off the DoJ.
Awful if true. How sad for those journalists.
ThinkProgress thinks he's not a real person. No such name on vote rolls in Connecticut. Likely it's Schroeder doing the writing; http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2015/12/25/3735…
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