NJ: Big Money for Pro-War Group Comes from Casino Mogul

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Last month, Freedom’s Watch, a conservative group dedicated to urging public support for the Iraq War and the president’s surge, began its campaign of TV, radio and Web ads. But the $15 million, five-week blitz was just the beginning to a campaign that’s seemingly as open-ended as the Iraq War itself. And that’s thanks largely to the financial support of billionaire Sheldon Adelson, reports the National Journal‘s Peter Stone (not online).

“Sources say that the group has lined up commitments of almost $200 million (from Adelson and others) to finance its operations,” he reports, noting that “the group has several A-list donors,” but “Adelson by far has the most firepower.”

Forbes recently listed Adelson as the sixth richest person in the world, with $26.5 billion in assets. He’s made his fortune mainly off of hotel-casinos and owns the Las Vegas Sands company. Stone reports that Adelson doesn’t serve on Freedom’s Watch’s board of directors, but “the group’s chairman is Bill Weidner, president of the Las Vegas Sands.”

Also on that board of directors, of course, are Ari Fleischer, and Brad Blakeman, both veterans of the Bush White House (spokesman and scheduler, respectively), who’ve served as the public faces of the group.