Sheldon Adelson wanted to donate one billion dollars to the Iron Dome project, offering to channel the funds through the US government, but was rebuffed, according to a “Politico” report.
The offer was revealed in a wide-ranging profile of White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough, which emphasizes the immense faith President Barack Obama places in him while also noting that the US leader enjoys flexing his independence from his gatekeeper. The Adelson affair is cited as such an episode.
The offer was relayed through Nevada Senator Harry Reid in 2013, back when he was the Senate majority leader and would directly interact with the president, “Politico” reported. Not long after Congress passed a funding bill for the joint US-Israel Iron Dome development, Reid received a phone call from Adelson, who resides in Nevada.
Adelson, a major Republican contributor, told the Democratic senator that he was willing to personally donate one billion dollars for Iron Dome batteries, to be channeled to the program through the US government.
Reid excitedly responded he would call the president immediately, according to “Politico” sources familiar with the incident. The senator followed up and Obama was surprised when he heard of the offer.
When the president recovered from the surprise, he asked Reid to thank Adelson, but explained that in his opinion private funding of weapons system would set the wrong precedent. Obama did not feel the need to consult McDonough, which would have entered the exchange into the White House decision-making apparatus.
Adelson’s idea simply expired, noted “Politico”.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 8, 2016
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