Records show connection between Brewer's PAC and Las Vegas billionaire - East Valley Tribune: Politics

Records show connection between Brewer's PAC and Las Vegas billionaire

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Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 10:39 am | Updated: 6:08 pm, Thu Dec 20, 2012.

Gov. Jan Brewer took $250,000 for her political action committee from a Las Vegas hotel owner and billionaire a day after she would have had to report it in time for voters last month to know about it.

And she may be saving it to affect the 2014 elections.

Records from the Federal Election Commission show Sheldon and Miriam Adelson gave a combined $250,000 on Oct. 19 to Jan PAC. That is one day after the Oct. 18 deadline for filing pre-election campaign finance reports; anything after that could wait until a month after the election.

That donation makes the couple, who also contributed $30 million to independent campaigns to help elect Mitt Romney, the largest single contributor to Brewer's efforts to affect federal races. Not only does it total more than 80 percent of what Brewer raised in the last reporting period which covered about five weeks, the Adelsons now are the source of more than a quarter of the $909,268 that Brewer raised all year.

The governor, in the new post-election report, said she had spent $680,000 this year helping candidates in Arizona and elsewhere, with mixed results.

That includes a pair of last-minute pieces: a $35,567 mailer attacking Democratic congressional candidate Ann Kirkpatrick in CD 1 on behalf of Republican Jonathan Paton, and another $29,561 promoting Republican Martha McSally against incumbent Ron Barber in CD 2. That is on top of money she previously spent on the races. But both GOP contenders still lost.

That still leaves her with $245,000 unspent after the election is over.

An aide to Brewer said she would not respond Tuesday to inquiries about taking so much from a single source, her expenditures and what she intends to do with the leftover money.

But the donation is apparently not the end of the governor's ties with Adelson: After getting the money, she, along with some other Republicans, met privately with him in Las Vegas when she attended a meeting of the Republican Governors Association following last month's election. Adelson owns the Sands Hotel there.

The new report also provides some other details of the governor's election efforts.

It shows she spent nearly $30,000 on robocalls urging people to support Romney. The report does not spell out whether that was spent on Arizona residents or elsewhere.

But the governor also said she spent another $139,988 just days before the election sending out a get-out-the-vote mailer. Here, too, there were no details of the intended recipients.

Brewer cannot her leftover funds from her federal PAC on herself, at least not if she pursues a legally questionable third term for state office. The governor has said a legal adviser has told her the two years she spent completing the unfinished term of Janet Napolitano, who quit to become homeland security secretary in the Obama administration, does not count toward the constitutional two-term limit approved by voters in 1992.

What she has spent so far has been to back candidates she favors.

When the governor first formed the PAC last year she told Capitol Media Services it was an outgrowth of her high-profile role on issues of illegal immigration and border security.

"I think it's important that we change the flavor in Washington, D.C.,'' she said at the time. "I think that I could be a big participant in having that happen.''

But Brewer's cash has not translated into the change she wanted. Aside from losses by McSally and Paton, a Brewer-financed mailer aimed at Democrat Kyrsten Sinema failed to keep her from getting elected in the state's new CD 9.

Brewer had better luck with her backing of Jeff Flake to fill the seat being vacated by Jon Kyl. But her nearly $100,000 for a mailing was just a drop in the bucket: The FEC reports independent PACS spent a total of $12 million on that race.

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