NEW YORK (HedgeWorld.com)--Global macro trader and philosopher George Soros finds himself in a very public feud with the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, J. Dennis Hastert.
On Aug. 29, the speaker appeared on Fox News Sunday. In the course of a discussion of campaign finance laws and the controversial candidate-independent ad financing vehicles known as 527s, Mr. Hastert decided to use Mr. Soros as an illustration of problems with the existing system.
"I don't know where George Soros gets his money," he said. "I don't know where--if it comes from overseas or from drug money or where it comes from. And I--"
At this point, the program's host, Chris Wallace, interjected, "Excuse me?" and Mr. Hastert continued, "Well, that's what he's been for a number of years--George Soros has been for legalizing drugs in this country. So, I mean he's got a lot of ancillary interests out there."
Mr. Soros wrote a public letter to the speaker, demanding an apology, Aug. 31. "Your recent comments implying that I am receiving funds from drug cartels are not only untrue, but also deeply offensive. You do a discredit to yourself and to the dignity of your office by engaging in these dishonest smear tactics. You should be ashamed."
Mr. Hastert appears to be unashamed, and his letter of explanation, released through the speaker's office Wednesday, was unapologetic. In this letter, Mr. Hastert appeared more concerned about where Mr. Soros' money is going to than about where it came from--clearly a different question. He said that he hadn't referred to drug cartels but to Mr. Soros' use of his money to fund organizations such as the Drug Policy Foundation, the Open Society and others that would decriminalize narcotics, "which I believe will exacerbate an already troubling situation in America." Mr. Hastert also objected to Mr. Soros' founding of a society called the Project on Death in America, which he called Project Death America, "dedicated to promoting euthanasia in America."
On Thursday, Mr. Soros fired back, repeating his demand for an apology. Mr. Hastert's "clear intention" on the Fox television program, "was to suggest that I get money from illegitimate or criminal sources, a charge which you know to be untrue. He also denied that the Project on Death promotes euthanasia. He said that its director, Dr. Kathleen Foley, "is one of the foremost critics of euthanasia in the United States."
"Your conduct does not reflect creditably on the House of Representatives," was his parting line.
Contact Bob Keane with questions and comments at: email@example.com.