- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hidden hand

George Soros is known for funding groups such as MoveOn.org that seek to manipulate public opinion. So why is the billionaire’s backing of what he believes in problematic? In a word: transparency,” Investor’s Business Daily says in an editorial.

“How many people, for instance, know that James Hansen, a man billed as a lonely ‘NASA whistleblower’ standing up to the mighty U.S. government, was really funded by Soros’ Open Society Institute, which gave him ‘legal and media advice’?

“That’s right, Hansen was packaged for the media by Soros’ flagship ‘philanthropy,’ by as much as $720,000, most likely under the OSI’s ‘politicization of science’ program,” the newspaper said.

“That may have meant that Hansen had media flacks help him get on the evening news to push his agenda and lawyers pressuring officials to let him spout his supposedly ‘censored’ spiel for weeks in the name of advancing the global warming agenda. …

“That’s not the only case. Didn’t the mainstream media report that 2006’s vast immigration rallies across the country began as a spontaneous uprising of 2 million angry Mexican-flag-waving illegal immigrants demanding U.S. citizenship in Los Angeles, egged on only by a local Spanish-language radio announcer?

“Turns out that wasn’t what happened, either. Soros’ OSI had money-muscle there, too, through its $17 million Justice Fund. The fund lists 19 projects in 2006. One was vaguely described involvement in the immigration rallies. Another project funded illegal-immigrant activist groups for subsequent court cases.

“So what looked like a wildfire grass-roots movement really was a manipulation from OSI’s glassy Manhattan offices. The public had no way of knowing until the release of OSI’s 2006 annual report.

“Meanwhile, OSI cash backed terrorist-friendly court rulings, too.

“Do people know last year’s Supreme Court ruling abolishing special military commissions for terrorists at Guantanamo was a Soros project? OSI gave support to Georgetown lawyers in 2006 to win Hamdan v. Rumsfeld — for the terrorists.”

Moving on

Georgia lawyer Hans von Spakovsky moved a step closer to confirmation to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) yesterday when a Senate committee voted to package his controversial nomination with three others for consideration by the full Senate.

The panel voted to send to the floor all four FEC nominees without any recommendation after Rules and Administration Chairman Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, announced her opposition to Mr. von Spakovsky, Cox News Service reports.

“I believe this nominee is not an unbiased individual,” she said.

Mr. von Spakovsky, a Republican and former Justice Department official, has been criticized by civil rights groups for advocating voter-identification requirements and especially for his role in pushing a Georgia voter-ID law.

Despite the objections by Mrs. Feinstein and some other Democrats, Mr. von Spakovsky has the advantage of longstanding precedent. The FEC is made up of six members, three from each party. Appointments have nearly always been considered in pairs, so that neither party can have the upper hand in the agency, which oversees and enforces federal campaign-finance laws.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, warned that he would block any effort to stop Mr. von Spakovsky. “All of these nominees will move together on the Senate floor or not at all,” Mr. McConnell told the committee.

Still undecided

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has postponed its presidential endorsement until next month, underscoring divisions within the powerful labor group over front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, sentimental favorite John Edwards and the latest star, Barack Obama.

Each of the top-tier candidates has support within the 1.8-million member union that includes janitors, hotel workers and truck drivers. SEIU backing is one of the most important labor endorsements available, with the organization donating more than $25 million, mostly to Democratic candidates, since 1989.

Mr. Edwards has won over many of the union’s leaders, yet that hasn’t translated into an endorsement. The SEIU’s executive board has decided to wait until next month before deciding which candidate to endorse, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

“The executive board has decided to go back to the local members and ask their opinions before making a decision,” Stephanie Mueller said.

Zapping Columbia

Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, yesterday introduced the Restoring Patriotism to America’s Campuses Act, which would bar Columbia University from receiving any form of federal assistance.

Mr. Hunter, a 2008 presidential candidate, targeted the university because it acted as host of a speech this week by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“This week, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger ignored public outrage and decided not to withdraw his invitation to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” Mr. Hunter said. “By hosting President Ahmadinejad, Columbia University openly insulted the thousands of servicemen and women serving in Iraq, many of whom are direct targets of the munitions that he is sending across the border.”

Mr. Hunter said the insult was compounded by the fact that Columbia University dissolved its Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program in 1969, and has steadfastly refused to reinstate it.

“It is troubling to see that a university such as Columbia, with a reputation as one of America’s leading universities, is more receptive to America’s adversaries than it is to the military that protects its right to free speech and assembly,” he said.

Private meeting

Republican presidential candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani met privately yesterday with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and indicated that he would keep a U.S. presence in Iraq for as long as necessary, campaign aides said.

The former New York mayor is one of the few 2008 Republican presidential candidates who has never been to Iraq, the Associated Press reports. Mr. Talabani, in New York for the U.N. General Assembly, provided what Giuliani aides described as an optimistic report about progress in the region during the meeting.

Mr. Giuliani, in turn, emphasized his support for a unified Iraq and indicated that he would keep a U.S. presence in that country for as long as necessary, aides said.

c Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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