GOP Megadonors Give $500,000 to Legal Fund for Trump Aides Caught Up In Russia Probe

February 1, 2019, 9:07 PM UTC

Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam Adelson have donated $500,000 to a fund that helps pay the legal fees of those caught up in the Russian investigation, CNN reports.

The fund, the Patriot Legal Expenses Fund Trust, was set up last year “to provide assistance paying legal expenses for persons involved in the investigations” by special counsel Robert Mueller or congressional committees, according to a draft document establishing the fund.

President Donald Trump and his immediate family members may not receive funds, but current or former campaign members or administration officials can. Members of the fund’s management are not allowed to be affiliated with the Trump campaign or administration.

The Adelsons’ donation is the largest to date, says CNN, but six-figure donations are not uncommon: Mar-a-Lago member Anthony Lomangino has given $150,000, real estate developer Geoffrey Palmer has given $100,000, and fellow casino mogul Phil Ruffin has given $50,000.

The specific fund recipients are not made public, but a filing with the Internal Revenue Service lists several law firms as beneficiaries. This includes Aegis Law Group; Berliner, Corcoran & Rowe; Jones Day; King & Spalding; and Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky & Popeo, CNN reports.

Sheldon Adelson is CEO of Las Vegas Sands, the world’s largest casino operator. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, his net worth is over $32 billion. Ahead of the 2018 midterms, he and his wife donated $112 million to Republican Super PACs. In November, Trump awarded Miriam Adelson with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 2016, Adelson’s company paid a $9 million settlement to the Securities and Exchange Commission, ending a five-year probe into whether the Las Vegas Sands violated federal anti-bribery law.