I for one think this is totally sincere. The DCCC had attacked conservative casino mogul Sheldon Adelson after he pledged to contribute heavily to Mitt Romney’s super-PAC, taking allegations made by a former employee who had filed a lawsuit against Adelson as their basis — which included the salacious charge that Adelson made money on prostitution at one of his overseas resorts.  Adelson threatened to sue the DCCC for defamation, which brings us to yesterday’s surprising climax:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued a public apology Thursday afternoon to billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson for charging that the Republican mega donor was tied to the Chinese mob and a prostitution ring.

“In press statements issued on June 29 and July 2, 2012, the DCCC made unsubstantiated allegations that attacked Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of the opposing party. This was wrong. The statements were untrue and unfair and we retract them,” the DCCC wrote. “The DCCC extends its sincere apology to Mr. Adelson and his family for any injury we have caused.”

I’m sure the DCCC did this out of the goodness of their hearts … right?  Er …

The statement is an attempt by the Democratic party committee to try and make a potential defamation lawsuit go away.

The attack on Adelson falls into the same category as the demonization of the Koch brothers for their funding of conservative activism.  It’s designed to intimidate them — and others who might want to get involved in politics — out of the public sphere.  (That’s not an impulse limited to the Left, either; the Right has George Soros as its bête noir, for example.)

Why did the DCCC, of all Democratic organizations, start throwing mud at Adelson?  They wanted to attack John Boehner and House Republicans for supposedly taking prostitution money, but that’s a very big reach even if they had some evidence on Adelson — which they don’t, and never did.  In fact, as Forbes noted nearly a month ago, that slanderous charge is particularly unfair to Adelson:

It was the latest accusation of prostitution that provoked Adelson to break his silence and fire back against Jacob’s allegations. Adelson says the fact that he and his wife Miriam (a physician who specializes in treating addiction) have given millions of dollars to set up clinics around the world to treat people with drug addictions (many of them prostitutes) makes the Jacob’s claims even more preposterous.

“I want to tell you how ridiculous that [accusation] is. There’s a clinic known as the Adelson Clinic that treats prostitutes and drug addicts. We take prostitutes off the street. We have one clinic that we started almost 21 years ago in Tel Aviv and we have about are 350 patients there. We have another Clinic in Las Vegas with almost 200 patients. My wife is there today signing up another 100 people… And even in Macao we set up a clinic to treat prostitutes and drug addict. It’s not called the Adelson Clinic but we taught the health department to do this.”

Adelson added:

“I don’t believe in prostitution. I feel sorry for the girls that do it. … How can I have a document that encourages prostitution? What do I say, go prostitute and then come into the clinic? … What’s his next illusionist performance? Where will that take him? Maybe he thinks I’m responsible for the recession or the Great Depression—I was born during that. Was at Watergate, did I shoot Kennedy, what else is he going to say–I started a world war?”

Besides being morally opposed to prostitution, Adelson said crafting such a scheme would simply be bad for business. If caught, he would lose his gaming licenses in Las Vegas, Singapore and Macao–licenses that have given his gaming empire a $35 billion market valuation and have earned Adelson a net worth of roughly $25 billion. “Would I jeopardize being the 7th richest man in the US and the 14th or 15th richest person in the world to push prostitution? For what? I’m already the most profitable company in consumer services ever. What do I have to win?”

One doesn’t often see these kind of apologies from mud-throwing in election cycles, but then again, the mud usually gets aimed at the candidates.  The DCCC picked a fight with Adelson in their intimidation scheme, only to be humiliated and intimidated into this embarrassing conclusion.  Great work, DCCC …. keep it up.