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AP sources: Adelson offers to help pay for Jerusalem embassy

  • FILE - In this May 23, 2017, file photo, Sheldon Adelson, right, talks with Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, before a speech by President Donald Trump at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Adelson has proposed paying for at least part of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, four U.S. officials told The Associated Press, and the Trump administration is considering the offer. Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of the highly unconventional proposal to cover part or all of the embassy’s costs through private donations, the administration officials said. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) Evan Vucci

  • Chief Executive of Las Vegas Sands Corporation Sheldon Adelson sits with his wife Miriam while they wait for the presidential debate between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y, on Sept. 26, 2016. Adelson has proposed paying for at least part of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, four U.S. officials told The Associated Press. AP File Photo

  • FILE - In this May 23, 2017, file photo, Sheldon Adelson arrives for President Donald Trump's speech at the Israel museum in Jerusalem. Adelson has proposed paying for at least part of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, four U.S. officials told The Associated Press, and the Trump administration is considering the offer. Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of the highly unconventional proposal to cover part or all of the embassy’s costs through private donations, the administration officials said. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File) Sebastian Scheiner



Associated Press
Friday, February 23, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, four U.S. officials told The Associated Press.

Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of accepting private donations to cover some or all of the embassy costs, the administration officials said. The discussions are occurring as the new embassy clears its final bureaucratic hurdles. On Thursday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ended weeks of delay by signing off on a security plan for moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, according to the officials, who weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly and demanded anonymity.

In one possible scenario, the administration would solicit contributions not only from Adelson but potentially from other donors in the evangelical Christian and American Jewish communities, too. One official said Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate and staunch supporter of Israel, had offered to pay the difference between the total cost — expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars — and what the administration is able to raise.

Under any circumstance, letting private citizens cover the costs of an official government building would mark a significant departure from historical U.S. practice. In the Jerusalem case, it would add yet another layer of controversy to Trump’s politically charged decision to move the embassy, given Adelson’s longstanding affiliation with right-wing Israeli politics.process that includes ensuring the gift “would not give the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

Adelson, who donated $5 million to Trump’s inaugural committee, is one of the Republican Party’s biggest donors and a major supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


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