Sleaze surrounds Soros groups

It appears that lurking in the political shadows with billionaire philanthropist and Democratic financier George Soros is a tar pit of old-fashioned sleaze. It’s hard to conclude otherwise in view of two recent election fraud verdicts against political activist groups heavily financed by Soros.

In the first verdict, the Federal Election Commission handed Americans Coming Together the third-largest fine ever levied by the agency.

The $775,000 fine against ACT followed a FEC investigation that found the group, which was organized for the 2004 campaign with substantial funding and active encouragement from Soros, spent $70 million of its $137 million budget on “clearly identified federal candidates in a manner that could only be paid for with federal funds.” ACT claimed it spent the money on voter registration drives.

The FEC concluded that ACT illegally spent the $70 million to support Democratic candidates. A $775,000 fine for a $70 million crime seems a mere pittance, but that’s an issue for another day.

In the second verdict, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — better known as ACORN — agreed to pay a $25,000 fine to settle vote fraud charges brought by Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed.

ACORN employees were supposed to help eligible voters fill out their registration cards, but instead were submitting cards with false names such as that of former boxing champion Leon Spinks. Reed called ACORN’s actions “the largest case of voter registration fraud in the state’s history.”

Again, the fine seems paltry given the seriousness of the crime, but at least ACORN, which has received much funding from Soros, was caught and made to pay something.

The significance of these cases is at least twofold. Odds are good that many readers here are finding out about them for the first time because the mainstream media devoted only perfunctory coverage to the ACT fine and almost none to the ACORN case. Does anyone doubt that coverage would have been far heavier had the offender been the American Conservative Union instead of ACT?

Second, author David Horowitz puts Soros at the center of what is described as a “shadow party” of moneymen, ideological schemers and political machine operators working mainly in the background to enact a far-left agenda. Reporters covering the 2008 campaign who expect to be taken seriously should start shining light in those shadows.

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