Economy claims 'conservative MoveOn'
John Byrne
Published: Tuesday December 9, 2008

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With casino suffering, Freedom's Watch drowns

The conservative lobbying group whose message was trumpeted by former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer is no more.

Freedom's Watch, a group aimed at bolstering the "War on Terror," has gone the way of the Dodo on the back of economic woes for the group's largest donor, casino heavyweight Sheldon Adelson. Fleischer, Bush's press secretary when the US invaded Iraq, served as a member of the Board.

Billed as being the right-wing alternative to, the group's financing dissolved as Adelson's Las Vegas Sands casino company hemorrhaged. Sands' stock value has plummeted 95% this year -- costing Adelson some $16 billion. Sands is saddled with massive debt.

"The group funneled millions into congressional and Senate races, but failed to make a major impact in the 2008 election where Democrats captured the White House and grew their majorities in both chambers of Congress," the Wall Street Journal noted Monday.

Freedom's Watch's demise was first reported on The site said the group was "plagued by staff shake-ups, early loses in House special election in which they invested heavily," and Adelson's financial losses.

Due to Adelson's losses, the conservative lobbying effort had less cash to throw around in November -- though it spent $30 million through the 2008 election, its original plans had called for $200 million.

They did, however, finance opposition to Democrat Jim Martin in Georgia, who lost his senatorial bid to incumbent Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss in a Dec. 2 runoff.