The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) retracted two previous statements about billionaire Sheldon Adelson on Thursday, after Adelson’s lawyer sent a letter to the DCCC demanding an apology, and threatening to sue if one was not issued.
The statements cited a suit by a former employee of Adelson’s, that alleged that the casino magnate permitted prostitution at properties in Macau owned by his company. Adelson has donated millions of dollars to Republican candidates this cycle.
The original DCCC press release on June 29 said,
The Associated Press reports that House Republicans’ single largest donor, Sheldon Adelson, “personally approved of prostitution and knew of other improper activity at his company’s properties in the Chinese enclave” of Macau, China.
In fact, the Associated Press article did not make the claim, but rather said that those charges had been “allege[d] in court documents” filed by “[t]he fired former chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s Macau casinos.”
“In press statements issued on June 29 and July 2, 2012, the DCCC made unsubstantiated allegations that attacked Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of the opposing party,” the DCCC wrote in a retraction. “This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair and we retract them. The DCCC extends its sincere apology to Mr. Adelson and his family for any injury we have caused.”
The retraction comes two weeks after Adelson’s lawyer sent the letter, as the Las Vegas Sun’s Jon Ralston reported.
“Mr. Adelson has no objection to honest political debate — indeed, he welcomes and fosters it — but he will not tolerate baseless attacks on him and his family. Political differences are no excuse for defamation, particularly the vile charges you have made,” Lewis R. Clayton, Adelson’s lawyer, wrote in a letter addressed to DCCC Communications Director Jesse Ferguson. The letter went on to demand a public apology, and that the DCCC “preserve for evidentiary use” the relevant documents.