As media buzz reached a fever pitch in the minutes before a Republican presidential debate hosted by ABC News, Yahoo! News, and WMUR-TV, Las Vegas Sun reporter John Ralston tweeted unexpected news: Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Ralston said, has made a $5 million contribution to a Super PAC devoted to promoting the candidacy of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“ADELSON gave $5M to Newt SuperPAC on Friday,” Ralston tweeted.
The Sun was among the first to report in December that Adelson committed to donate or raise $20 million to aid Gingrich in seeking the White House.
At the time, an Adelson spokesman denied the report, saying “there’s no truth to any speculation that Mr. Adelson has made a commitment to either contribute or raise this amount of money.”
The “Winning Our Future” Super PAC confirmed the donation to the Washington Post on Saturday night. A person close to Adelson said the check was written in order to keep Gingrich competitive in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary.
Adelson, a billionaire who ranked eighth in the 2011 Forbes magazine list of the wealthiest Americans, is chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., which owns casinos in Las Vegas including the Venetian and the adjacent Palazzo. It also owns gaming resorts in Macau, China.
The contribution from Adelson will likely be used for advertising, including spots targeting front-runner Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.
On Tuesday night after the Iowa caucuses, Gingrich pledged that he would not run a scorched-earth campaign against Romney.
“We are not going to go out and run nasty ads,” Gingrich said. “But I do reserve the right to tell the truth. And if the truth seems negative — that may be more a comment on his record than it is on politics.”
Gingrich placed fourth in the Iowa caucuses.
David Martosko is The Daily Caller’s executive editor. Follow him on Twitter.