January 9, 2009
Why Soros wants Norm Coleman out of the SenateBy Ed Lasky
George Soros is the biggest sugar daddy of the Democratic Party, and naturally wants to ensure that the Democrats have a monopoly of power in America. Recently, I wrote an article for American Thinker on the role that George Soros has played in helping the Democrat Al Franken in his race against the Republican incumbent Norm Coleman for a Senate seat in Minnesota.
However, there may be one other reason that Soros was determined that Norm Coleman in particular lose his seat. This was personal.
Norm Coleman was the chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and as such took a leading role in uncovering and investigating the United Nations oil-for-food scandal. Coleman was the leader in the Senate when it came to scrutinizing the operations of the United Nations; he appeared frequently in the media. The United Nations had never before come under such public criticism in the Senate. The mandarins and their fellow travelers were made very uncomfortable by the work of Senator Coleman.
They do not forget their adversaries.
This scandal involved not just negligence of the UN officials that set up and monitored the program (which immeasurably helped keep Saddam Hussein in power and, in a sense, helped create the conditions for the invasion of Iraq), but also involved corruption that reached the highest levels at the United Nations.
Coleman was dogged in his pursuit of the wrongdoers at the UN. The investigation tarnished the image of Mark Malloch Brown (UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's deputy and right-hand man at the UN) who was seen as spinning away any culpability of Annan and the UN itself in this travesty of a program. Coleman thereby clearly earned the wrath of George Soros, for the ties between Brown and Soros are tight and seemingly mutually beneficial.
Soros provided an apartment of very advantageous rates for Brown; the favoritism bestowed upon Brown only began with that token of appreciation and support. Upon leaving the UN under the cloud that Coleman helped create, Brown was named the vice-president of the Quantum Fund run by his friend George Soros. Brown had no experience in the hedge fund world, but such sinecures are generously passed out by billionaires wanting friends that might reach high places -- they are an investment (see Axis of Soros in the Wall Street Journal's archives).
Mark Malloch Brown, who had previously worked at the World Bank, had been in the running to succeed Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank. That would be yet another friend in a high place -- that Soros collects like so many cards in a deck. Since the World Bank often helps private businesses in their investments, this friend in a high place would have been particularly valuable to George Soros, who invests billions of dollars in the type of lesser-developed nations on which the World Bank focuses. David Asman of Fox News called Mark Malloch Brown George Soros's "Ace in the Hole" at the World Bank when it appeared that Brown was vying for the top job at the Bank. Asman noted that Brown would be in a prime position to help Soros play the currency markets since currency traders'
Alas for Soros and Mr. Brown, the post went to Robert Zoellick. Don't count Brown and Soros out yet, though. A new President is coming to town and President Obama will have a new chance to pick the head of the World Bank (though the World Bank is an international body, traditionally the United States chooses the person who leads the Bank).
George Soros and Barack Obama also have long-standing ties. Soros is very astute in his choice of "friends" who owe him favors. He knows good investments when he sees them and knows more about leverage than most hedge fund billionaires.
Funding the campaigns of Barack Obama was not just another investment/political donation of George Soros. He started funding Barack Obama's campaigns at an early date and used a loophole in federal campaign laws to exceed normal limits on donations. He then used his phalanx of 527 groups to campaign for Obama via, among other avenues, the powerful and furtive Democracy Alliance.
But, I digress.
Back to the battle between Soros and Coleman.
Soros seemingly does not forget friends or enemies, and he thinks and plans far ahead. He paid particular attention to the race in Minnesota the past couple of years -- funneling money to the Secretary of States project that helped elect Mark Ritchie (a Democrat) to the post of Secretary of State. This office, charged with ensuring the integrity of the voting process, allowed Ritchie to influence the vote recount of the contest between Coleman and Franken.
Soros also funneled money to so-called 527 groups that worked to oust Coleman. Covering all the bases, Soros doubled down and hosted a fundraiser for Al Franken after the election.
The election results were, at best, inconclusive. The details of the post-election contest between Coleman and Franken are complex but have been well-covered by Scott Johnson at Powerline, the Wall Street Journal, and Fox News. The important point to take away from the dispute in the context of this article is that the fight is now between the lawyers; these contests are expensive, and the funds Franken has at his disposal from Soros and others have been crucial.
Perhaps, Soros was looking backward and wanted to "punish" Coleman for his tarnishing of the reputation of Brown. More likely is that Soros was looking forward: should Barack Obama nominate Mark Malloch Brown to be the head of the World Bank, wouldn't it be better to have Norm Coleman -- who knows more about corruption and disgrace at the United Nations than most Senators -- out of the Senate?
This aspect of the battle between George Soros and Norm Coleman (waged through proxies) came to mind when I read in the Wall Street Journal that the United Nations was closing down the anti-fraud unit that was established in the wake of a series of corruption scandals -- the oil-for-food scandal just being the most widely known. The anti-corruption unit had uncovered over 600 million dollars in alleged contract fraud and puts at risk 175 investigations currently being pursued. Russia has been obstructing the efforts of this unit since its inception and now may have finally succeeded (Russian nationals have been implicated in fraud).
That is truly a shame: not only would such a unit help save American taxpayers a boatload of money (since we fund a large share of the UN budget) and help to ensure honesty and competency at the UN, but also would appear to have been one of the better investments of the past few years -- maybe even rivaling the investment Soros has made in Obama, Franken, and Mark Malloch Brown.
Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.