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Politico reporter: Wynn donation may be inspired by rivalry

Casino magnate Steve Wynn’s political activity has apparently progressed beyond televised rants against the Obama presidency. He’s now letting his money do the talking. According to a source at Politico, Wynn has become a mega-donor to Karl Roves’ Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit group that can accept unlimited contributions and offers its donors anonymity.  

“We don’t know for sure but we believe (Wynn’s donation) could be as much as eight figures. It could be as much as 10 million,” says Politico reporter Steve Friess. “Steve is becoming the kind of donor that Sheldon Adelson has become famous for being.”

The origins of the Steve Wynn – Karl Rove alliance aren’t clear, but Friess says that, based on his knowledge of Wynn, the friendship makes sense.

“I kind of get it, knowing Steve Wynn. I get that Steve Wynn has a penchant for becoming friends with powerful people, people who are creative, people who are known to be the best at what they do,” says Friess, “And Karl Rove is the gold standard in raising money in politics and political strategy.”

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Friess says the friendship may be genuine as well as strategic. Wynn and Rove attended each other’s weddings and were seen most recently travelling together on the Mediterranean.

But it’s unclear why Wynn, who has been so public about his disapproval of the Obama administration, would be so secretive about giving money to the GOP.

“One theory is that Steve Wynn is so recognizably connected to his brand and his buildings. His name is on them,” says Friess, “He may not want that brand to become a piñata on MSNBC.”

Friess thinks Wynn’s contributions to the GOP may in part have been inspired by his rivalry with Sheldon Adelson.

“On Capitol Hill, everyone knows where Sheldon Adelson stands on gaming and they care. Nobody knows what Steve Wynn says about it and nobody cares,” says Friess. “I think Wynn wants to be a part of that same conversation.”