George Soros – Drug Kingpen?

Kevin Drum makes note of a bizarre statement made by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on Fox News Sunday yesterday. From the show’s transcript:

WALLACE: Let me switch subjects. You both had very deep reservations about McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform before it was passed. In fact, I think you say in your book, Mr. Speaker, that you thought it was the worst piece of legislation that had been passed by a Republican Congress since you’ve come to Washington.

Now that everyone seems upset with these so-called independent 527 groups, whether it’s MoveOn.org on the liberal side of the spectrum or Swift Boat Veterans for Truth on the conservative side, do you feel like saying, “I told you so”?

HASTERT: Well, you know, that doesn’t do any good. You know, but look behind us at this convention. I remember when I was a kid watching my first convention in 1992, when both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party laid out their platform, laid out their philosophy, and that’s what they followed.

Here in this campaign, quote, unquote, “reform,” you take party power away from the party, you take the philosophical ideas away from the party, and give them to these independent groups.

You know, I don’t know where George Soros gets his money. I don’t know where — if it comes overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from. And I…

WALLACE: Excuse me?

HASTERT: Well, that’s what he’s been for a number years — George Soros has been for legalizing drugs in this country. So, I mean, he’s got a lot of ancillary interests out there.

WALLACE: You think he may be getting money from the drug cartel?

HASTERT: I’m saying I don’t know where groups — could be people who support this type of thing. I’m saying we don’t know. The fact is we don’t know where this money comes from.

Before, transparency — and what we’re talking about in transparency in election reform is you know where the money comes from. You get a $25 check or a $2,500 check or $25,000 check, put it up on the Internet. You know where it comes from, and there it is.

I saw this exchange yesterday morning and was definitely scratching my head. I find Hastert likeable enough–I’m almost finished with his autobiography which I’ll review here soon–and presume that he meant this as a silly hypothetical rather than a rather sinister smear. But he certainly should have made that clearer, especially after Wallace’s incredulous reaction. Hastert’s larger point about the 527s being less transparent than the parties is true but it was made in almost the most hamhanded way possible. Hastert is a pretty levelheaded guy and not known as a partisan nutjob. Soros is a bit on the kooky side but, so far as I know, earned his billions honorably.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Jab Jabbinz says:

    Earned his billions honestly???

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Soros#Critics

    Critics point out that Soros plays the currency markets through Quantum Fund, his privately-owned investment fund registered in Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, a Caribbean tax haven which has repeatedly been cited by the International Task Force on Money Laundering of the OECD as one of the world’s most important centers for laundering the illegal proceeds of the Latin American drug trade. By operating from Curaçao, Soros not only avoids paying taxes but also hides the nature of his investors and what he does with their money.

  2. Illinois Politicians, the day is yours
    Speaker of the House Dennis Hasert on George Soros (via NYDNews): “You know, I don’t know where George Soros gets his money. I don’t know where — if it comes overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from,”…

  3. Eric Akawie says:

    Soros has been a big backer for Marijuana legalization groups and Medical MJ. Of course the last thing someone making a lot of money off of drugs would want is legalization…

  4. James Joyner says:

    I took “drug groups” to mean those like NORML rather than, say, the Cali Cartel.

  5. DC Loser says:

    Oh yeah, NORML just happen to have a few billion sitting around they don’t know what to do with.
    You know what he meant.

  6. denise says:

    “I remember when I was a kid watching my first convention in 1992, . . .”

    Boy, Hastert doesn’t look very good for his age.

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

  7. Ducktape says:

    …in Curaao, Netherlands Antilles, a Caribbean tax haven which has repeatedly been cited by the International Task Force on Money Laundering of the OECD as one of the world’s most important centers for laundering the illegal proceeds of the Latin American drug trade.

    ROFLMAO! Do you suspect Halliburton, Enron, and the other companies that sheltered their money in tax havens also used for money-laundering of having a link to the illegal drug trade, too?

  8. Dodd says:

    Soros is a bit on the kooky side but, so far as I know, earned his billions honorably.

    Well, if one defines “honourably” to encompass “undermining the currency of multiple third world nations, further impoverishing millions, for one’s own enrichment.”

  9. Bithead says:

    Dodd; you speak for me as well. Isn’t it odd, how the left which usualy abhors that kind of activity, is willing to take funds made in that fashion? I guess the rich are OK, so long as they mouth socialist plattitudes and fund leftist casues, hmmm?

  10. biteback says:

    Any slander is fully justified in defense of our president. No crime is too small to commit to keep Bush in power.

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