Sen. John McCain's campaign aggressively fired back against news on Thursday that Democratic financier George Soros was taking part in a $40 million third-party effort to battle Republicans in the fall.
Hoping to raise funds from the news, campaign manager Rick Davis painted Soros as a "liberal megadonor" eager to "buy this election with [his] billions."
"P.S." Davis added, "Billionaire George Soros has shown time after time that he is willing to fund baseless left-wing smear campaigns."
What kind of "baseless left-wing" projects has Soros funded in the past?
Well, how about the McCain-founded Reform Institute, a nonpartisan 501c3 organization dedicated to promoting accountability and transparency in government.
Indeed, according to the Reform Institute's own website the "Constitutions & Legal Policy Program" of Soros' own Open Society Institute donated "above $50,000" to the group while McCain was with the organization. Reporting at Talking Points Memo today, Greg Sargent gets the actual figure of the donation: $150,000.
And who served as the top staffer for the Reform Institute? That would be Rick Davis, who according to news articles was earning $110,000 a year at his post. Davis, however, has severed his ties with the group. But currently serving as a senior fellow at the Reform Institute is Juan Hernandez, who also doubles as an adviser to the McCain campaign.
So, to draw this out a bit: Soros, the man Rick Davis believes funds "baseless left-wing projects" has not only funded McCain's own organization (we don't know how much over $50,000 he gave), but also portions of Rick Davis' salary.
Update: It gets even better. According to TPM, in 2002 the Open Society Institute gave $300,000 in grants to various groups that were defending McCain's campaign finance law against legal challenges to it. An OSI spokesperson, Laura Silber, confirmed the report. So not only did McCain's own organization and his campaign manager benefit from Soros' cash, but McCain's chief legislative issue was defended using money from the financier they are now deriding.