Pubdate: Thu, 02 Sep 2004
Source: Slate (US Web)
Copyright: 2004 Microsoft Corporation
Author: Jack Shafer
Note: Jack Shafer is Slate's editor at large.
Note: There are a number of internal links for this OPED that may be
accessed from the above webpage.
Bookmark: (Soros, George)


The Speaker's Unseemly Habit of Slandering George Soros.

Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert stuck his foot in it while
appearing on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday (Aug. 29), speculating
that Democratic Party financier and anti-Bush 527 donor George Soros
may be the recipient of illicit drug money. (For the back story, see
yesterday's column, "Dennis Hastert on Dope.")

Hastert states in a letter to Soros that he's being misread,
maintaining that when he told Wallace, "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," the groups he was
referring to were the "Drug Policy Foundation, The Open Society, The
Lendesmith [sic] Center, and The Andean Council of Coca Leaf Producers."

Hastert's explanation is preposterous. Soros gives money to these
groups. He doesn't collect money from them. Yesterday, Soros countered
Hastert's letter with a new letter repeating his demand for an apology.

If you buy Hastert's line that he's being misinterpreted, I invite you
to listen to the last two-and-a-half minutes of Hastert's Aug. 23
appearance on WNYC-FM's The Brian Lehrer Show. In it, he slanders
Soros on the same subject, only more explicitly. Click here for the
interview excerpt, or read the transcription below:

Brian Lehrer: What do you think of the Swift Boat veterans ads, and John
Kerry's calls for the president to denounce them?

Dennis Hastert: Well, you find out that if you look into the record, I was
against the Campaign Finance Reform Act because that's what I felt that
would happen, that you would push into guys like George Soros, who's
dumping in $16 or $20 million. We don't know where that money comes from.
We don't know where it comes from, from the left, and you don't know where
it comes in the right. You know, Soros' money, some of that is coming from
overseas. It could be drug money. We don't know where it comes from.

(Emphasis added.)

Let's review Hastert's comments: 1) We don't know where Soros' money
comes from. 2) Sorry, we do know where some of it comes from! Some
comes from overseas. 3) It could be drug money. 4) Sorry, again. We
don't know where it comes from.

Hastert may sound like a confused, gibbering fool who blurted out
something he'd like to take back. But an experienced politician such
as Hastert doesn't say something this stupid and outrageous twice by
accident. Hastert has purposely painted an ambiguous backdrop against
which he can shrewdly slander his political foe Soros. Who will he
smear next? 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake