Wednesday, October 31, 2018

HATE GROUP VITRIOL: WADE ROSS's "Vagrant Watch" Facebook Group Untethered to Truth, Tortiously Interferes With St. Augustine Tourism?

Sir Winston Spencer Church said, "A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on."  

Homeless-hating falsehoods have been directed against our town by a disgruntled former political candidate, WADE McGREGOR ROSS.

Sadistic WADE ROSS leads nightly stalking and harassment of the homeless.

Here in St. Augustine, we don't like bullies like WADE ROSS.

We need an investigation by FDLE or FBI, a "hate groups" designation by Southern Poverty Law Center, and responsive communications to the Florida School Boards Association and Florida Education Association from the Chamber of Commerce Historic Downtown chapter, the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council and the Visitor and Convention Bureau. 

Here's the e-mail I sent to Facebook found Mark Zuckerberg and his VP for policy:

Dear Messrs. Zuckerberg and Kaplan:
1. Will you please have your staff investigate a Facebook group, "VAGRANT WATCH," which appears to embrace vigilantism and tortious interference with contractual relations on the issue of homelessness or panhandling here in St. Augustine, Florida?  
2. I am not currently able to view the group.  I was kicked off for talking about compassion and respect for the rule of law, including the United States Supreme Court's landmark 1972 decision striking down vagrancy laws, Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville, 405 U.S. 156 (1972).
3. The Facebook hate group's full current name is "St. Augustine Vagrant Watch & St. Augustine Citizen Night Watch" and it is associated with one WADE McGREGOR ROSS, who recently wrote Florida School Boards attempting to discourage school groups from visiting our Nation's Oldest City.  
4. This failed City Commission candidate's Facebook hate page has allegedly misled people and attempted to promote hatred in our small town.
5.  Please examine past and deleted Facebook hate postings, inter alia suggesting vigilantism by possibly armed angry people who are allegedly stalking, photographing and invading the privacy of tourism industry workers and other innocent citizens, falsely portrarying them as if they were "vagrants." 
6. Enough hatred. 
7. These misguided people could kill or maim, using Facebook as their platform.

Thank you.
With kindest regards, I am,
Sincerely yours,
Ed Slavin

Here's the recent misleading scam spam correspondence and (dated circa 2017), redacting privacy-invading photographs of homeless people, which failed St. Augustine City Commission candidate WADE McGREGOR ROSS, operator of a Facebook "St. Augustine Vagrant Watch" page, allegedly sent to numerous Florida School Boards concerning homeless or panhandlers, inter alia urging that Florida's fourth grade school groups not to visit our City:

To Whom It May Concern:
This letter has been written for the attention of the Florida Department of Education;
however, if you are not part of the FDOE, you are being sent this information because you
have been identified as someone who may be able to help. I will be sending it to anyone that
may be of assistance to our community.
I am a veteran educator with 23 years of experience. My first responsibility in my classroom,
before all else, is student safety. If you bring your students to St. Augustine for a field trip, I
would like to make you aware of the unsafe conditions that we are experiencing.
The St. Augustine Vagrant Watch Group
I am a member and moderator of the St. Augustine Vagrant Watch Group on Facebook. We are a crime watch group composed of residents of the city of St. Augustine and St. Johns
County, as well as those who love St. Augustine and want to stay informed regarding the
Vagrancy Crisis and related crimes we are experiencing.
We have made attempts to work with our City Officials, the City Manager, and Law
Enforcement with very limited success. We are at an impasse, and since the City of St.
Augustine will not take any further action on this very difficult issue . We will be reaching
outside the City for assistance with this public safety and health crisis. If you can be of any
assistance, it would be greatly appreciated.
The Criminal-Vagrancy Crisis
In 2016, the Middle Courts of Florida struck down ordinances that made panhandling illegal
as it is considered protected under the 1st Amendment Right of Free Speech. About this time,
our City, in fear of a lawsuit, stopped enforcing laws and ordinances that address the crimes
associated with chronic homelessness, which we call vagrancy. At that time, our Mayor, who
has just been re-elected, went on the News and made the announcement that panhandling
rules would not be enforced. Since then, we have had an influx of transients to our Historic
City. Along with this influx, we have had a sharp rise in public camping, drunkenness, public
urination and defecation, aggressive panhandling, and littering. We have had female minors
physically assaulted. We have had residents and guests physically threatened and assaulted.
The list goes on and on. The City eventually changed the panhandling ordinances; however,
regular enforcement and public education have fallen flat, and our Mayor does not seem to
think that we have a problem.
The Historic City’s Public Safety Crisis
I would like to take you on a photographic tour of what you may find If you come to St.
Augustine. What you will be looking at is a regular occurrence in the Historic District.
Whether you come with a spouse, a friend, or on a field trip with students, the first place you
may come to is the parking garage. We call that area the safe zone for vagrants. For months,
even with enforceable public camping ordinances, our City failed to take any action against
the vagrants living in this area. On a typical night, we would have 20 to 30 vagrants sleeping
in this area. One night, the count reached over 40. Without public restrooms, the campers
would use the nearby grassy areas and bushes. It was also reported that this was a location
for drug use, drug deals, prostitution, and as a chop-shop for stolen bicycles. This area
became so filthy and smelly that a fire truck was brought in to hose down the area. Shortly
after this point in time, after months of complaints to the COSA and one of our members
being interviewed by the local media, the City has cracked down on the night-time sleeping,
but the vagrants still gather there during the day.
The south side of the parking garage.
A firefighter cleaning the vagrant filth on the south side of the parking garage.
Across from the garage we have the City Visitor Information Center. The VIC and the Garage
share a central area. Even though the City has put up signs, they are not effective because
the police do not systematically patrol and cite offenders.
In between the parking garage and Visitor Information Center.
Please click on this link for more information on the vagrancy issue at the parking garage:
The signs do no good when there is not a regular police presence.
The Parking Garage.
At the Visitor Information Center.
After leaving the Parking garage, a visitor would typically head south on St. George Street, a
pedestrian walking area with small shops, restaurants, and historic buildings. The oldest
school house is located on this street, which is about 4 blocks long. The street has become a
haven for alcoholics and drug addicts to beg for money to feed their addictions. Begging is
their 1st amendment right, and they display signs that often reference drugs and alcohol.
They use dogs and cats as props for sympathy. Many times, the dogs are pit bulls and it is not
known if they are trained, socialized to be around other animals or people, or have the
proper vaccinations.
We have witnessed vagrants smoking marijuana, giving away joints of marijuana, exchanging
money, and throwing pills in the street before being arrested. Many of the Vagrants we have
monitored have been arrested for drug-related crimes.
We believe this is a drug deal that happened near St. George Street.

On St. George Street, you will typically find the conditions filthy. It was not like this 5 short
years ago. Our group members have documented Vagrants urinating on the walls, on
garbage cans, in bottles which are left behind, and at times, we will find vomit and human
feces. Typically, when the City does not enforce the public camping ordinance, we expect to
find or at least to smell human defecation and public urination.
Urine left in a bottle on St. George Street.
Human feces.
More human feces around the corner from St. George Street. Sadly, this is a regular
occurrence and we have more pictures documenting this.
The City could plan better for weeks with increased tourism.
St. George Street with an empty bottle of vodka.
At several of the intersections as you walk down St. George, you can find an assortment of
panhandlers. We find these people drunk or high and unruly later in the day. They often
harass visitors and have been reported trying to pressure minors to hand over their money.
These people do not want for food; they are daily fed at either the St. Francis House or by a
group called Dining with Dignity.
This guy is tweezing his beard and nose hair on St. George Street.
This is a violent habitual offender is once again stoned. Recently, while he was on probation,
he assaulted somebody and robbed them. The robbery with a weapon charge is being
dropped to disorderly conduct. We expect him to be release back out on our streets soon.
This guy is a regular who is drunk or high and passes out on St. George Street.
At the South end of St. George Street, we have our Historic Plaza de la Constitution with our
Public Market area and our Gazebo. This is an area where the Vagrants set up day camps and
sometimes, if our Watch group members are not prompting the police, they will spend the
night there. Since the vagrants are too lazy to walk over to the nearby public restroom, they
will urinate and defecate in the Plaza area. We have witnessed drunk Vagrants urinating in
the same grassy area where families sit down and play with their children. The Gazebo itself
is used as a urinal.
Many of our vagrants come directly from jail to our Plaza. Some vagrants with criminal
records come from other states. A few blocks away there is easy access to food from a local
charity, and access to tourist dollars through panhandling.
This photograph was taken inside the Gazebo after a group of vagrants spent most of the day
This gazebo in the Plaza is a regular bathroom for the vagrants and it reeks of urine.
Another drunk habitual offender.
This is a fight that happened in the Plaza last year. The vagrants are often arguing and yelling
at each other. The have foul mouths and do not filter anything. They often yell vulgarities out
This man fell asleep in the park with his hand down the front of his pants.
Please, whether you are on St. George Street or in the Plaza area, do not sit on the benches.
They are filthy. It has been reported that vagrants have urinated on themselves while sitting
on the benches and often the backs of their pants are soiled with excrement.
Finally, a few blocks to the east of St. George Street you can find the Castillo de San Marcos
and the Educational Spanish Quarter. In the past vagrants have been found camping on the
Fort property, and the northeast corner has reeked of human feces. At the entrance of the
Spanish Quarter, vagrants have been seen urinating.
Sleeping on the Historic Fort.
Urinating on the Spanish Quarter attraction.
We have made countless attempts to work with the City Officials, the City Manager, and law
enforcement. We have exhausted all our avenues of recourse and are asking for your
assistance. Our group has been lied to, ignored, and vilified. If you come to visit our Historic
City or bring students for educational field trips, we ask that before you come, you demand
that the City be made clean and safe through the systematic patrols and strict enforcement
of City ordinances and State laws. We are including contact information for St. Augustine
City Officials below for your convenience. Thank you for your assistance.
The contact information for the City officials:
City Manager
John Regan
City Commisioners
Mayor Nancy Shaver
Todd Neville
Roxanne Horvath
Leanna Freeman
Nancy Sikes-Kline
Additional Links Documenting the Vagrancy Crisis:
For more information about this group or to arrange a meeting, please contact the St.
Augustine Vagrant Watch Group Moderators:
Evelyn Hammock at 904.635.6959 or
Troy and Patti Strawder at 904.679.4455 or
Wade Ross at 321.698.2198 or
Feel free to join our Facebook group, St. Augustine Vagrant Watch Group, or google “St.
Augustine Vagrant” to see more information about our crisis.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Wade Ross
St. Augustine Vagrant Watch Group Moderator

How Vilification of George Soros Moved From the Fringes to the Mainstream. (NY Times)

Right-wing nut jobs and Jew haters are obsessed with George Soros. In 2010, I got a haircut at a local establishment whose angry owner insulted President Obama and made cracks about George Soros.  I've never gone back.

I met George Soros when I served as Young Lawyers Division Liaison member of the Council of our American Bar Association Section on Individual Rights and Responsibilities circa 1989-1991.  George Soros has done a lot to make this planet a better place, supporting efforts to bring the rule of law to places that have never known it (like Eastern Europe) or Florida.  I applaud his efforts and I am mystified as to the haters, like the Trump supporter who sent him a bomb.

From The New York Times:

How Vilification of George Soros Moved From the Fringes to the Mainstream


2:57Once Fringe, George Soros Conspiracies Now Saturate the G.O.P.
George Soros, a billionaire Democratic fund-raiser, has long been villainized in certain right-wing circles. Now conspiracy theories about him have gone mainstream, to nearly every corner of the Republican Party.Published OnCreditCreditDamon Winter/The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Hours after he was informed last week that an explosive device had been delivered to his suburban New York home, George Soros, the billionaire investor and Democratic donor, got on a call with colleagues to discuss yet another threat: the authoritarian Hungarian government’s crackdown on a university he had founded.
The attempted attack in New York — subsequently determined to have been part of a wave of pipe bombs targeting prominent critics of President Trump — did not come up. But it was no coincidence that Mr. Soros would be facing intense opposition and threats at the same moment in two countries thousands of miles apart.
On both sides of the Atlantic, a loose network of activists and political figures on the right have spent years seeking to cast Mr. Soros not just as a well-heeled political opponent but also as the personification of all they detest. Employing barely coded anti-Semitism, they have built a warped portrayal of him as the mastermind of a “globalist” movement, a left-wing radical who would undermine the established order and a proponent of diluting the white, Christian nature of their societies through immigration.
In the process, they have pushed their version of Mr. Soros, 88, from the dark corners of the internet and talk radio to the very center of the political debate.

“Soros is vilified because he is effective,” said Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former campaign strategist and White House adviser, who is now trying to promote a coordinated nationalist movement across Europe and in the United States that explicitly aspires to mirror and counteract the influence Mr. Soros has built on the left.
“I only hope one day I’m as effective as he has been — and as vilified,” Mr. Bannon said, calling threats like the pipe bomb “the admission ticket for playing in this arena.”
On Fox News, in Republican fund-raising appeals and in research by conservative advocacy groups, his name is invoked as an all-purpose symbol of liberalism run amok.
Mr. Trump references him in Twitter posts and speeches as a donor to anti-Trump protesters, and the president’s family and closest advisers sometimes go much further. Donald Trump Jr. retweeted a claim this year by the comedian Roseanne Barr that Mr. Soros is a Nazi. And the president’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, retweeted a comment saying that Mr. Soros is the Antichrist whose assets should be frozen.
In at least one case, the attacks made their way into United States government-funded media. The Spanish-language Radio Television Marti network, which broadcasts pro-United States content in Cuba, aired a report in May that is now the subject of a government investigation. The report called Mr. Soros a “multimillionaire Jew” of “flexible morals,” who was “the architect of the financial collapse of 2008.”

In the final days of the midterm election race, in which he is spending heavily to elect Democrats, Mr. Soros is being heatedly, if implausibly, cast as the financier of the immigrant caravan, a deep-state presence in the federal bureaucracy and the hidden hand behind the protests against Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.
In Europe, the effort to demonize him has been both fueled and harnessed by nationalist leaders like Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary and politicians in formerly communist countries like Macedonia, Albania and Russia.
“He’s a banker, he’s Jewish, he gives to Democrats — he’s sort of a perfect storm for vilification by the right, here and in Europe,” said Michael H. Posner, a human rights lawyer and former State Department official in the Obama administration.
Mr. Soros has given his main group, the Open Society Foundations, $32 billion for what it calls democracy-building efforts in the United States and around the world. In addition, in the United States, Mr. Soros has personally contributed more than $75 million over the years to federal candidates and committees, according to Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service records.

Activists removed an ad sponsored by the Hungarian government that vilified Mr. Soros and The Open Society Foundations in Budapest last year.CreditPablo Gorondi/Associated Press

Mr. Soros initially focused his activism on nurturing the democracies that emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But as he has evolved in the United States into a more traditional political operator, conservatives have become increasingly driven to discredit him — and, in turn, to use him to discredit the candidates and causes he supports — sometimes by exaggerating or mischaracterizing his role in actions taken by groups he helps to fund, and sometimes with imagery widely seen as anti-Semitic.
The closing advertisement for Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign featured Mr. Soros — as well as Janet L. Yellen, the chairwoman of the Federal Reserve at the time, and Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, both of whom are Jewish — as examples of “global special interests” who enriched themselves on the backs of working Americans.
If anything, Mr. Soros has been elevated by Mr. Trump and his allies to even greater prominence in the narrative they have constructed for the closing weeks of the 2018 midterm elections. They have projected on to him key roles in both the threat they say is posed by the Central Americans making their way toward the United States border and what they characterized as Democratic “mobs” protesting the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
The National Republican Congressional Committee ran an ad in October in Minnesota suggesting that Mr. Soros, who is depicted sitting behind a pile of cash, “bankrolls” everything from “prima donna athletes protesting our anthem” to “left-wing mobs paid to riot in the streets.” The ad links Mr. Soros to a local congressional candidate who worked at a think tank that has received funding from the Open Society Foundations.
Even after the authorities arrested a fervent Trump supporter and accused him of sending the pipe bombs to Mr. Soros and other critics, Republicans did not back away. The president grinned on Friday when supporters at the White House responded to his attacks on Democrats and “globalists” by chanting, “Lock ’em up,” and yelling, “George Soros.”
Mr. Soros’s attackers in the United States and in Europe have increasingly found common cause in recent years.
The conservative legal organization Judicial Watch, which has received funding from major conservative donors, this year began an effort to expose United States government assistance for what the group considers Mr. Soros’s “far-left agenda” in South America and Eastern Europe.

That qualifies him as one of the top disclosed donors to American political campaigns in the modern campaign finance era, and it does not include the many millions more he has donated to political nonprofit groups that do not disclose their donors.
By contrast, the network of conservative donors led by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch, who have been similarly attacked by some on the American left, has spent about $2 billion over the past decade on political and public policy advocacy.

The group’s research director, Chris Farrell, referred last week to the “Soros-occupied State Department” on Lou Dobbs’s television program on Fox Business. Fox Business later condemned the remark and banned Mr. Farrell from further appearances. But criticisms of Mr. Soros have been amplified on both Fox Business and Fox News.
Judicial Watch’s efforts pick up a theme pushed by Republican members of Congress in letters to the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development this year accusing Mr. Soros’s Open Society Foundations of using taxpayer funding to push a liberal agenda in Albania, Colombia, Macedonia and Romania. A spokeswoman for the Soros group said the programs in question focus on issues that are consistent with “American ideals,” like fighting corruption and promoting the rule of law.
The conservative party in Albania is represented in Washington by a lobbyist who is close to Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, who signed one such letter, while Mr. Orban’s government has made payments to lobbyists and think tanks with connections to Mr. Trump’s team.
Mr. Soros was born into a Jewish family in Hungary, and survived the Nazi occupation as a child in part by posing as the Christian godson of a government official.

Mr. Soros in 1986. The Economist called him “surely the world’s most intriguing investor” the next year.CreditTed Thai/The LIFE Picture Collection

After World War II, Mr. Soros fled Hungary for England as the Soviet Union consolidated control in his home country. He worked as a waiter and a railroad porter and studied at the London School of Economics, where he was deeply influenced by the theories of an Austrian philosopher who taught there, Karl Popper. Mr. Popper wrote about the consequences of what he called “closed” and “open” societies — concepts that shaped Mr. Soros’s investment strategy and philanthropy for decades.
His daring investments in companies and currencies proved hugely lucrative, prompting The Economist to call him “surely the world’s most intriguing investor” in 1987. His decision to short the British pound in 1992 earned his funds a reported profit of $1 billion.

By then, he was turning his attention to democracy-building in Eastern Europe.
Mr. Soros and his foundations supported groups and individuals seeking to bring down Communism, including the Solidarity and Charter 77 movements in Poland and Czechoslovakia. The leaders of both groups would later lead their countries in the post-Communist era.
In Hungary, Mr. Soros distributed photocopiers to universities and libraries as a means to fight government censorship, and he paid for dissidents to study in the West. The recipients included a young Mr. Orban, then a liberal activist.
After the end of the Cold War, with the Open Society Foundations as his main vehicle, Mr. Soros funded new work for destitute Soviet scientists in Russia, paid for free school breakfasts for Hungarian children and set up a college, the Central European University, that later drew the ire of Mr. Orban’s government.
In the United States, where Mr. Soros was granted citizenship in the 1960s, Mr. Soros’s efforts often won bipartisan applause. A professed admirer of President Ronald Reagan’s efforts to topple Communist rule in Eastern Europe, Mr. Soros, who at the time described himself as a political independent, was seen by anti-Communist Republicans as a fellow freedom fighter.
As his activities grew more prominent in Europe, and he began funding drug reform efforts in the United States, he started being cast in the 1990s as a central figure in a shadowy Jewish cabal by extremist figures such as the fascist presidential candidate Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. and allies of repressive Eastern European leaders who were targeted by groups funded by Mr. Soros.
The theories were initially confined to the anti-Semitic fringe, though Mr. Soros is not closely associated with Jewish or Israeli causes, and in fact has been accused of being anti-Israel and was criticized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Mr. Soros first became a major target for Republicans when he donated $27 million in the 2004 election cycle to an effort to defeat President George W. Bush, whose administration Mr. Soros condemned for rushing to war in Iraq and compared to Hitler’s Nazi regime.

J. Dennis Hastert, Republican of Illinois, suggested in 2003, when he was House speaker, that the money that Mr. Soros was spending to defeat Mr. Bush “could be drug money.” And in 2010, the talk show host Glenn Beck accused Mr. Soros of “helping send the Jews to the death camps,” devoting three hourlong episodes of his top-rated Fox News show to a series branding Mr. Soros a “puppet master” intent on engineering a coup in the United States. The claims were repudiatedby the Anti-Defamation League.
The efforts by Mr. Soros and a small band of wealthy donors to defeat Mr. Bush in 2004, while unsuccessful, later led to the creation of a network of major liberal donors that reshaped the American political left, marked Mr. Soros as a leading figure in Democratic politics and reinforced his status as a perennial election-time foil for the right.
“Back then, it was a handful of crackpots; it was considered fringe; and it was contained,” said David Brock, the self-described right-wing hit man who switched sides and started a fleet of liberal groups to track conservative disinformation, including from hosts like Mr. Beck.
“But it started coming back with a vengeance during the 2016 campaign,” said Mr. Brock, whose groups have received millions of dollars from Mr. Soros.

Supporters of President Trump at a campaign rally in Nevada. The National Republican Congressional Committee is running an ad in Minnesota suggesting that Mr. Soros, funds “left-wing mobs paid to riot in the streets”CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Soros had expressed even greater alarm about Mr. Trump than he had about Mr. Bush, and he donated more than $16 million to groups supporting Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Soros, his allies say, interprets the attacks from Mr. Trump, Mr. Orban and their supporters as an effort to intimidate him into backing down. But the intimidation has backfired, they say.

When friends reached out to express concern for his safety after the pipe bomb news broke, Mr. Soros, who was not there when the package was delivered, changed the subject to what he called “the damage” being done by the Trump administration, said his political adviser, Michael Vachon.
Mr. Vachon said that Mr. Soros in recent days has drawn a connection from the president’s rhetorical attacks on his critics to the pipe bombs and even to the killing of 11 people on Saturday at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
In an email to The New York Times, Mr. Soros said he was grieving for the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting and their families. He added: “I came to this country to find refuge. I am deeply distressed that in America in 2018 Jews are being massacred just because they are Jewish.”
Mr. Soros has donated more than $15 million in this election cycle to support Democratic candidates at the federal level, according to election commission records, and he has also donated to nonprofits that do not disclose their donors.
Mr. Soros’s representatives say he gave $1 million to one such group, the Democracy Integrity Project, which was established after the 2016 election to investigate foreign interference in elections and to research Mr. Trump’s connections to Russian interests. Mr. Soros is considering additional donations to the group, which has paid for research from Fusion GPS, the firm behind the controversial dossier containing salacious claims about Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia.
The very scale of his activities has given Republicans an opening to portray him as a nefarious driving force behind divisive political conflicts.
After two protesters confronted Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, inside an elevator on Capitol Hill in late September and urged him to vote against Mr. Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, Mr. Trump dismissed the protesters as Soros pawns.

“The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love! #Troublemakers.”
One of the women did, in fact, work for a group called the Center for Popular Democracy, which has received significant funding from the Open Society Foundations. But the group said that neither it nor Mr. Soros had paid people to protest.
At the same time, his network of European nonprofit groups was increasingly making him a target of authoritarian leaders, including President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Mr. Orban in Hungary.
Mr. Soros’s foundations have been banned from distributing funds in Russia, while Open Society chose to move its offices out of Hungary this year after a smear campaign by the Orban government. The Central European University announced last week that it may soon follow.
In a campaign this year, Mr. Orban’s party ran an advertisement that depicted a smiling Mr. Soros, overlaid with the slogan: “Let’s not let George Soros have the last laugh.” Critics argued that the image was meant to remind viewers of the “Laughing Jew,” a common anti-Semitic trope.

Kenneth P. Vogel and Scott Shane reported from Washington, and Patrick Kingsley from Berlin.