Adelson and Kochs join forces

Sheldon Adelson gives $10 million to the Koch brothers; court upholds free speech; and other top Friday stories

Topics: 2012 Elections, Campaign Finance, Healthcare Reform, Supreme Court,

Conservative dark money supergroup: “Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson this week pledged $10 million to the Koch brothers’ 2012 efforts, cementing a potent alliance of two of the biggest spending forces in conservative politics. The pledge was delivered by Adelson aide Andy Abboud at the Koch brothers’ donor summit early this week in suburban San Diego and was among the biggest of the gathering, multiple sources told POLITICO. Other large pledges came from personal investment tycoon Charles Schwab, who committed to a seven-figure donation, and the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch.”

A win for free speech: There was another big Supreme Court decision yesterday that didn’t get much attention. The court threw out the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a crime for people to lie about receiving military honors they had not earned. The justices said the law would have been the first time the government had made it a crime to lie per se, and not gain financially via lying, as in fraud. “The First Amendment requires that there be a direct causal link between the restriction imposed and the injury to be prevented,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in an opinion joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor. “Here, that link has not been shown.”

The war isn’t over: The legal battle over the Affordable Care Act may be over, but the states still have a ton of work to do to implement the policy, and there are plenty of political pitfalls along the way. The ruling is also a win for the health industry, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Meanwhile, the law “remains unpopular. And as part of the decision to uphold the law, Chief Justice John Roberts may have made it even more toxic, determining that it was a tax. Policy experts said they remain concerned about components of the legislation, including looming cuts in Medicare payments to hospitals and other providers, while Democrats have exhibited general wariness with championing it on the campaign stump,” the Huffington Post notes.



House Republicans have already scheduled another vote to repeal Obamacare (they already did last year) even though they have no chance of succeeding. To repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republicans would need to pass a new law, which would require winning the presidency and likely 60 seats in the Senate. Still, the party plans to make healthcare a major election issue.

Romney’s favorite justice: Mitt Romney’s campaign may want to update its website. Chief Justice John Roberts saved the day for Obamacare yesterday by ruling to uphold the law, but the presumed GOP nominee writes on his website that he wants to nominate justices “in the mold” of Roberts. Even so, the candidate raised $2.5 million in online donations after the ruling.

A win for Teddy: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reacted to the ruling by saying, “Now, Teddy can rest,” referring to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who made expanding health access a priority.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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