It seems that at least one top Republican has been taking money from liberal donors after all. According to The Daily Caller, it turns out that Republican Senator John McCain’s Institute for International Leadership had accepted contributions of as much as $100,000 from progressive billionaire George Soros, as well as from Teneo — a Clinton-associated organization founded by Doug Band, Bill Clinton’s “bag man” who also helped secure lucrative speaking deals for the family.
After his failed presidential campaign in 2008 against Obama, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spent nearly $9 million in unspent funds to form the McCain Institute for International Leadership. The institute is associated with Arizona State University, and its mission is to remain “dedicated to advancing human rights, dignity, democracy, and freedom.”
However, many have become concerned that some of the institute’s donors, as well as McCain’s involvement with the exclusive “Sedona Forum,” bear quite the similarity to the Clinton Global Initiative, which mixed together various special interest groups and politicians.
Most disturbingly, the McCain Institute has been found having accepted donations from rather suspicious sources, including a $100,000 donation from George Soros himself, along with Teneo, an organization that is deeply connected with the Clinton family.
The Soros-McCain connection reportedly became forged when the Senator was exposed as a member of the “Keating Five” during the savings and loan scandal. The affair affected him so much that he became an ardent supporter of campaign finance reform, a position that paved the way for his friendship with Soros.
Bloomberg previously reported a $1 million donation in 2016 from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, a contribution that the institute has refused to explain either, but was described by a spokeswoman from Arizona State University as a “general, unrestricted contribution.”
Further investigation yielded numerous other suspicious donations. The institute has taken at least $100,000 from a Moroccan state-run company that has had several allegations of worker abuse. The business in question is a phosphate company that operates in the Western Sahara in outright defiance of UN resolution, violating international law and human rights in doing so.
It should also be mentioned that McCain had previously praised the King of Morroco in 2011, saying that the country was a “positive example to governments across the Middle East and North Africa.” The same king was also a major donor to the Clinton Foundation, personally giving $12 million to Hillary Clinton in return for holding a CGI meeting in the country.
In another case, the institute accepted another similarly sized donation from the Pivotal Foundation, which has given over $200,000 to the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), and also supported the Obama-Iran nuclear deal that the previous administration negotiated.
“This is a very real conflict of interest,” said Craig Holman, a government affairs lobbyist. “This is the similar type of pattern we received with the Clinton Foundation in which foreign governments and foreign interests were throwing a lot of money in the hopes of trying to buy influence.”
McCain has claimed that he has no active involvement with the institute. “I’m proud that the institute is named after me,” he says, “but I have nothing to do with it.” Regardless, one would think that a conservative senator, such as himself, would exercise more caution toward the sources of his namesake’s donations.