One of the many egregious aspects of Jane Mayer's New Yorker article on the Koch brothers was the comparison it made between the Koch brothers and George Soros:
Of course, Democrats give money, too. Their most prominent donor, the financier George Soros, runs a foundation, the Open Society Institute, that has spent as much as a hundred million dollars a year in America. Soros has also made generous private contributions to various Democratic campaigns, including Obama's. But Michael Vachon, his spokesman, argued that Soros's giving is transparent, and that "none of his contributions are in the service of his own economic interests."
The latest example of Mr. Soros's selfless giving came this month, with the announcement of a $100 million pledge by Mr. Soros's Open Society Foundations to Human Rights Watch. It was followed a week later by the news that, as Bloomberg News put it, "Billionaire investor George Soros won a bid to have the European Court of Human Rights review his 2002 French conviction over insider-trading of shares in Societe Generale SA."
As a general proposition, we're not big fans of laws restricting the flow of information or the ability of investors to trade on information. But the concept that a person can appeal a conviction upheld by a sovereign court to an international "Court of Human Rights" is exactly the sort of idea that Human Rights Watch just loves, and it's very much in the personal interest of Mr. Soros, economic and otherwise, to see his appeal succeed.
I'm not saying this is Mr. Soros's only reason for giving money to Human Rights Watch. And I'm not even saying there's anything wrong with a person giving to charities that are in line with their own interests; while the New Yorker doesn't seem to understand the idea, it seems entirely logical to me. What I am saying is that this notion propounded by the New Yorker article that the Koch brothers are somehow crooked while Mr. Soros, by contrast, is pure as the driven snow is ridiculous.