Political Hay

Soros: From Dots to Patterns

Is political pointillism threatening the American process? Rep. Waxman probably knows the answer...

By 10.11.07

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Dots.

Reduced to layman's terms, this was the style of French painter George Seurat. Painting in the manner of what has been called "Neo-impressionism" or "Pointillism," Seurat created paintings composed of thousands of carefully colored points or dots. No one dot had any meaning. Taken by itself alone it was a single vivid point on the artist's canvas. Only when the dots were seen in their entirety, when one pulled back and looked at a Seurat painting as a whole, could you suddenly see the entire pattern of dots forming a remarkable portrait.

The question: Is left-wing billionaire George Soros emerging as a political version of George Seurat? Are the political dots Soros has splashed on the canvas of American politics, points of vivid but solitary color, forming a pattern that threatens the very process by which Americans conduct their political system?

Here are some of the dots, reaching back almost a decade.

* Dot: July, 2000. Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court William Rehnquist receives a cover memo from the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, with a second, lengthier memo attached. The subject: "Apparent Partnership of Washington Post and Community Rights Counsel on Judges' Travel and Recusal Questions." The memo writer, Deputy Assistant Director of Public Affairs David Sellers, specifically accuses the Washington Post and a Soros-funded group known as The Community Rights Counsel of a relationship that "raises serious ethical and factual questions." The core of the allegation: that the Soros-funded group provided the Post with "a written analysis" of the CRC's "findings" on the issue of travel by federal judges. The trade-off: The memo to Rehnquist states that "in exchange" for the Soros-funded CRC's research "the paper has given him (the CRC director) a platform," specifically a front page story in the Post on June 30, 2000. It also cites previous stories run in 1998 and 1999. The memo concludes: "This form of journalism is highly unprofessional and adds to the perception that the reporter and the source have established a working relationship that goes beyond the acceptable norm." Sellers tells the Chief Justice that "there appears to be a disturbing relationship that has developed between a special interest lobby and a Washington Post reporter."

* Dot: July 2000. Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Russell Feingold (D-WI) introduce legislation banning federal judges from certain types of travel that exposes them to opinions and views opposed by Soros. The Soros-funded Open Society Institute supplies the money to investigate the travel.

* Dot: February, 2002. The pattern repeats itself two years later. The U.S. Department of Justice receives five written questions concerning the ethics of a pending federal judicial nominee from another reporter for the Post. The Justice Department is not told the research comes from a secret memo researched and written by the Soros-funded CRC. With his answers to the Soros-funded questions in-hand, the reporter's story is published the same day the once-secret memo is released in letter-form addressed to Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, then (as now) chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The letter is featured in the Post story. There is no reference that the CRC has received money from Soros, no mention that the Post used the Soros-funded material as the basis for its research, and no mention that the Post had received a complaint from the office of the Chief Justice two years earlier. The story then presents an NYU law professor to comment unfavorably on the judge's ethics -- without telling readers that the same professor was in fact a CRC consultant. In other words, Soros funded the research, the reporter knowingly used the research without telling his readers of Soros's role, then the reporter presented the letter to Leahy without revealing the connection between the CRC and Soros to his readers. On that day Leahy announces he will now hold a confirmation hearing on the nominee, a hearing he has delayed for months.

* Dot: February -- May 2002. Wisconsin Democrat Russell Feingold chairs the hearing for the judicial nominee in February, and Senators submit written questions until May. Later, it is discovered that some of both Feingold's oral and written questions to the nominee, some verbatim, are supplied by the Soros-funded CRC. Likewise, a number of Democratic Senators send the nominee written questions, like Feingold with no acknowledgment as to the role Soros's money has played in their questions.

* Dot: The Capital Research Center reports the Community Rights Counsel received a $50,000 grant from Soros's Open Society Institute in fiscal year 2000 to investigate the ethics of federal judges.

Let's move ahead. Past the 2004 election in which Soros gave over $23 million dollars to a variety of 527 committees to influence the 2004 election.

* Dot: September 2007. The New York Times gives a special discount rate ($64,575) not available to others (who are charged $142,083) to the Soros-funded Move On.org for a full page ad attacking General David Petraeus.

* Dot: September- October 2007. Media Matters, described by National Review's Jonah Goldberg in the New York Post as "part of the complex of liberal activist groups linked to George Soros" targets Bill O'Reilly with a false charge of racism and Rush Limbaugh with a phony charge of being anti-military. Both stories dominate the news cycle for days.

* Dot: October 2007. Now we find out from our colleague The Prowler here at The American Spectator that Congressman Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee "has asked his investigative staff to begin compiling reports on Limbaugh, and fellow radio hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin based on transcripts from their shows, and to call in Federal Communications chairman Kevin Martin to discuss the so-called 'Fairness Doctrine.'" A Democratic House leadership aide says flatly that "Limbaugh isn't the only one who needs to be made uncomfortable about what he says on the radio."

LET'S STAND BACK and take a look at the pattern formed by all these individual dots. What has George Soros' money been used to pay for?

* Research for a major newspaper in return for a front page story based on that research.

* Questions to the Justice Department asked in the name of a reporter for that same newspaper.

* A newspaper story reporting unfavorable comments on judicial ethics from a law professor without identifying the professor as a consultant to the Soros-funded group.

* Oral and written questions asked of a judicial nominee in a Senate hearing by United States Senators.

* Legislation is introduced by two Democratic Senators based on Soros-funded research.

* The New York Times advertising discount was given to Move On.org, which has received, according to discoverthenetworks.org, $2.5 million from Soros personally as well as much more from Soros associates.

* Media Matters, the organization seeking to drive Limbaugh and others off the air, has received indirect Soros funding through other groups that receive direct funding from the billionaire such as MoveOn.org, the Center for American Progress and Democracy Alliance.

* Forty-one Democratic Senators vote for a Senate resolution condemning Limbaugh, a resolution based on the Media Matters research.

Congressman Henry Waxman, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has now denied he plans to launch a congressional investigation of radio talk show hosts designed to censor their speech or possibly even take them off the air completely. He has called the American Spectator report to the contrary "a fictitious story."

But a few days before the Spectator ran its story I heard former Democratic presidential candidate and Soros fundee retired general Wesley Clark tell MSNBC's Tucker Carlson that he supports a ratings system for free speech. "I don't see why there can't be standards for political discourse," Clark said, going on to urge the establishment of speech rating system of "A-rated, B-rated and C-rated" and so on. And just by the sheerest of coincidences, a year ago this October 16 the New York Sun reported that Mr. Clark's political action committee Wes-Pac had received $75,000 from Soros. Clark was quite up front about his objective with talk radio, which interestingly dovetailed with the sentiments attributed to Waxman. Said Clark: "There are standards for propriety in public broadcasting, are there not?...What we need to do is we need to be rating the whole standard of political discourse in America." Why? When asked by Carlson if he, Clark, was "attempting to censor [Rush Limbaugh] by taking him off the air?" the Soros-funded ex-candidate bluntly replied: "Well, I think he's [Rush] crossed the line."

None of this is fictitious. One can only be curious if the powerful Waxman and his Democratic colleagues who have a penchant for passing House Resolutions will have the courage to clarify the issue by introducing a one-sentence House Resolution that reads: "Resolved: The House of Representatives supports the First Amendment of the United States Constitution."

ALL OF THESE THINGS -- newspaper stories, questions to a government agency from a reporter, questions asked of witnesses by Senators, legislation introduced by Senators, newspaper advertisements, talk radio, Senate resolutions and, most frighteningly, federal investigations powered by public tax dollars -- all of these have traditionally been an independent part of the American democratic process. They are all now, Waxman's denial not withstanding, very clearly and with easy documentation, under assault.

Conservatives need to be asking three questions:

1) What else is being done out of the public eye to undermine our democratic system?

2) Who is paying for it? For example, just as the pro-censorship Clark is a Soros-fundee, who else calling for repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in Congress receives Soros money? Who provides Henry Waxman's staff with research? Who, for that matter, has provided his staff?

The third and last question is the most obvious: What are conservatives going to do about all of this?

Hopefully, Dr. Dobson, putting Hillary Clinton in charge of the Justice Department, the FBI and the CIA is not the answer to question three.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.