For all his (and his wife's) bashing of greedy Wall Street hedge-fund managers, Obama has shown nothing but love to the world's most famous hedge-fund mogul. The feeling is mutual and deep(-pocketed).
Soros and his family shelled out $250,000 for Obama's inauguration, $60,000 in direct campaign contributions and untold millions more to liberal activist groups pushing the White House agenda. While the class warrior-in-chief assails conniving financiers who exploit loopholes and corporate titans who imperil the planet, he lets the Soros exemptions to his attack-the-rich rules slide like butter on a hot plate.
This week, for example, Soros announced he was "quitting" the hedge-fund industry. The headlines emphasized his decision to return about $750 million to outside investors (a drop in his $30 billion bucket of personal wealth). He's reconstituting the business that landed him on Forbes magazine's "wealthiest people" list as a "family" interest. But the move has "self-serving politics" written all over it.
Over the past year, Soros provided coveted support for Obama and the Democrats' Byzantine financial "reforms" under the sweeping Dodd-Frank law. He preached to financial publications around the world about the need for increased regulatory controls over his industry. And in November 2008, while paying obligatory lip service to concerns about going too far, he submitted a statement to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that recommended: "The entire regulatory framework needs to be reconsidered, and hedge funds need to be regulated within that framework."
Frameworks for thee, but not for he, however.
Under Title IV of Dodd-Frank, hedge funds were required to abide by new registration and reporting requirements in an attempt to better police systemic risk (not that the feckless Securities and Exchange Commission has ever been able to fulfill that mission). To evade the regulations, Soros and other firms have used a recently passed rule allowing so-called family offices to shield themselves from both registration and disclosure rules that would have subjected Soros Inc. to a new "Financial Stability Oversight Council."
Somehow, in touting its one-year anniversary last week, there was nary a peep about the myriad loopholes and de facto waivers being granted to Obama's powerful benefactors whose names start with "S" and end in "-oros."
GOP Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama called Soros' hypocrisy out, telling Reuters this week: "It appears that Mr. Soros talked up financial reform only to sell it short. Don't be surprised to see his fellow Wall Street financiers follow suit."
This comes on top of the Obama administration's $2 billion offering in 2009 to Brazilian state-owned offshore oil-drilling company Petrobras -- in which Soros and his management company own an $811 million stake.
Offshore drilling for they, but not for the rest of the USA. Membership in the self-exempting progressive billionaires' club has its privileges.