Hastert Update


Dennis Hastert has responded to the charge that he smeared George Soros by suggesting he was on the take from drug cartels. From his letter to Soros:

…you have funded organizations such as The Drug Policy Foundation, The Open Society, The Lendesmith [sic] Center, the Andean Council of Coca Leaf Producers, and several ballot initiatives across the country to decriminalize illegal drug use. Promoting drug use, in my view, will lead to more lives lost and more tragedy for our children. I think this approach is simply wrong.

These were the drug groups that I referred to in my comments on the Fox News Sunday program. Chris Wallace said, "drug cartels." I did not.

Let's review the transcript:

WALLACE: You think he may be getting money from the drug cartel?

HASTERT: I'm saying I don't know where groups--could be people who support this type of thing. I'm saying we don't know. The fact is we don't know where this money comes from.

It is indeed Wallace who introduced the phrase "drug cartel." But Hastert does not reply, "No, that's not what I meant." He says "we don't know."

That's not the only thing that's disingenuous about Hastert's letter. As Jack Shafer notes in Slate, the "drug groups" Hastert cites "are beneficiaries of Soros wealth: He's given them money. In the program transcript, Hastert is clearly asking about the source of Soros' money for his political and social campaigns, and then he asks the leading question, is it from 'overseas or from drug groups'?"

Shafer adds that the Speaker isn't the first person to accuse Soros of being a narcotics kingpin. Apparently, the charge has been drifting around LaRoucheville for years.

[Thanks to reader Adam Scavone for the tip.]