It wasn’t that long ago that currency speculator George Soros was traveling the globe urging a regulatory crackdown on the same financial sector that has allowed him to become a billionaire 14 times over.
In late 2008 the preachy political radical who has given more than $8 billion to charities and left-wing causes lectured a congressional committee. “The entire regulatory framework needs to be reconsidered and hedge funds need to be regulated within that framework,” he pontificated.
Soros got his wish, and the lawmakers his money helped to install in Congress dutifully approved the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Public Law 111-203).
Soros talks a good game when it comes to openness and transparency. With an obedient media in tow, he postures as a defender of business ethics and good government but the lofty ideals he espouses apply only to other people. In the end, when his personal interests are at stake, his professed ideals get discarded like yesterday’s racing form.
So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that this man who has described himself as “some kind of god” now doesn’t want to comply with new disclosure rules that accompany the Dodd-Frank law. To avoid complying, he is closing his $25 billion Quantum funds to investors outside his family.
What new regulation does Soros consider to be so burdensome? A mere requirement that hedge funds such as his with more than $150 million under management register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by March 2012. A loophole allows a fund to skip registering if it manages only a family’s funds.
Why would Soros, benefactor of the aggressively leftist Open Society Institute, not want to register like all the other big players on Wall Street? In the scheme of things registration isn’t a big deal. Its major drawback is that it would open up Soros’s shady dealings to unprecedented public scrutiny.
In a case of typically British understatement, the Financial Times of London observed that Soros’s “decision contrasts with his own reputation as an advocate for both government and corporate transparency.”
There’s more than a mere contrast here. Soros’s refusal to register with the SEC is a deliberate betrayal of the principles to which he self-righteously pays lip service.
It’s all part of a pattern. Soros has long believed the rules don’t apply to him.
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