Casino magnate Miriam Adelson gives pro-Ted Cruz super PAC $1 million
Miriam Adelson in 2019. Photo: Wikimedia

By Matthew Choi
The Texas Tribune
June 21, 2024

Casino magnate Miriam Adelson gives pro-Ted Cruz super PAC $1 million” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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WASHINGTON — Miriam Adelson, the billionaire casino tycoon and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, gave $1 million to a super PAC supporting Sen. Ted Cruz’s reelection, according to the group’s monthly finance report.

The donation was the largest single contribution in May to the Truth and Courage PAC, which is independent of Cruz’s official campaign. The group reported receiving over $176,000 from other sources last month, leaving it with over $1.6 million in the bank as of the end of May. The group has so far spent over $700,000 supporting Cruz’s reelection.

Adelson is a major donor in Republican politics, continuing the legacy of her late husband Sheldon Adelson, the founder of the Sands casino empire. Her profile in Texas political circles has only grown since her deal to purchase the Dallas Mavericks went public last year. She has supported efforts to legalize gambling in the state, spending generously to support pro-casino members of the Legislature and has also been a backer of pro-Israel candidates.

Adelson has previously given handsomely to Republican congressional efforts, routinely giving millions to super PACs associated with House and Senate Republican leadership. She has also been close to Gov. Greg Abbott, appearing on stage at his 2023 inauguration.

Truth and Courage PAC also reported over $156,000 in “digital revenue” from radio distribution and marketing firm iHeartMedia Management Services in May. The company, which syndicates Cruz’s podcast, had already sent over $630,000 to the super PAC before May. The payments were a source of ethics complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee.

End Citizens United and the Campaign Legal Center filed the complaint with the FEC in April, requesting an investigation into the payment arrangement between Cruz and the company for its work on the podcast. The arrangement is not public, but the complaint asserts Cruz could have violated campaign finance laws if he solicited donations to Truth and Courage PAC as part of the arrangement.

Cruz is prohibited from coordinating with the super PAC or soliciting donations on its behalf beyond the $5,000 federal campaign contribution limit. Unlike candidates, super PACs can receive unlimited donations.

Cruz asserts the payments are legal and that he does not personally profit from the podcast, volunteering his time as he would to appear on cable news. iHeartMedia has previously said the payments are related to advertising sales on the podcast. They are marked in FEC reports as “digital revenue.”

Cruz’s relationship with iHeartMedia was also subject to scrutiny in 2022 when CLC requested the Senate Ethics Committee investigate if he was improperly profiting from lobbyists employed by the company. Senators cannot accept gifts from lobbyists, and the group raised concerns the firm’s production of Cruz’s podcast could amount to a gift. The Ethics Committee dismissed the complaint.

Truth and Courage PAC’s fundraising represents a fraction of the money going toward Cruz’s reelection effort.

Cruz raised over $9.7 million in this year’s first quarter ending in April across his fundraising operation, including his reelection campaign committee, leadership PAC (which fundraises for other candidates) and joint fundraising committee (where he can fundraise with other campaign organizations and candidates). That includes $6.9 million raised through his campaign committee. Cruz’s campaign doesn’t have to disclose its fundraising until the end of the second quarter in July.

Cruz’s Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, D-Dallas, raised $9.5 million through his campaign committee in the first quarter. A recent poll by the University of Texas and Texas Politics Project shows Cruz ahead of Allred by 11 percentage points.


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This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2024/06/20/miriam-adelson-ted-cruz-senate/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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