As Sen. John McCain assumes the GOP front-runner mantle, his long-standing, but little-noticed association with donors such as George Soros and Teresa Heinz Kerry is receiving new attention among his Republican critics.
In 2001, McCain founded the Alexandria, Va.-based Reform Institute as a vehicle to receive funding from George Soros’ Open Society Institute and Teresa Heinz Kerry’s Tides Foundation and several other prominent non-profit organizations.
McCain used the institute to promote his political agenda and provide compensation to key campaign operatives between elections.
In 2006, the Arizona senator was forced to sever his formal ties with the Reform Institute after a controversial $200,000 contribution from Cablevision came to light. McCain solicited the donation for the Reform Institute using his membership on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, he supported Cablevision’s push to introduce the more profitable al la carte pricing, rather than packages of TV programming.
Yet, the Reform Institute still employs the McCain campaign’s Hispanic outreach director, Juan Hernandez, as a senior fellow of its Comprehensive Immigration Reform Initiative.
As WND reported, Hernandez serves as a non-paid volunteer for the McCain campaign. A dual Mexican-U.S. citizen, he was a member of former President Vicente Fox’s cabinet, representing an estimate 24 million Mexicans living abroad. Hernandez, with a “Mexico first” message, has argued aggressively against building a fence on the Mexican border, insisting the frontier needed to remain wide open so illegal immigrants could easily enter the U.S.