The apparent relationship between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Nevada billionaire Sheldon Adelson led Daily Show host Jon Stewart and correspondent Jason Jones to discuss the political definition of corruption on Tuesday night.
To illustrate his point, Jones produced two bags: one representing a “polluted pile” of money from conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch, and the other depicting “a majestic tower of liberty bucks” from Adelson.
“So what is corruption?” Stewart asked.
“Corruption is a billionaire who spends their money on sh*t you don’t like,” Jones said.
“What is free speech?” Stewart asked, following up.
“A billionaire who spends their money on sh*t you do like,” Jones responded.
After showing clips of Reid’s repeated criticism of the Koch brothers, Stewart was initially confident that Reid would be just as harsh toward Adelson, given that Adelson is also a prominent donor to Republican candidates and runs the only non-union casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
“Unionizing without secret voting is Sheldon Adelson’s personal 9/11,” Stewart said. “Harry Reid’s gonna crush this guy.”
Instead, Reid told MSNBC not to “pick on” Adelson.
“He’s in it because he has certain ideological views,” Reid was quoted as saying. “Now, Sheldon Adelson’s social views are in keeping with the Democrats. On choice, on all kinds of things. So, Sheldon Adelson don’t pick on him. He’s not in it to make money.”
“What the f*ck difference does that make?” Stewart demanded. “He’s got ideological views. If those happen to line up with the money, mazel tov.”
But Jones sided with Reid, saying there was a clear difference between mega-donors like Adelson and the Kochs.
“Sheldon Adelson’s money and power help Harry Reid,” Jones explained to Stewart. “The Koch brothers’ money and power don’t. So the Koch brothers are corrupt. Pretty simple concept to grasp there, Jon.”
Watch Stewart’s commentary, as posted online on Tuesday, below.