- Multi-billionaire funder of leftwing causes and groups
- Founder of the Open Society Institute
- The prime mover behind the Democratic “Shadow Party” network
See also: Guide to the George Soros Network
Introducing George Soros
New York hedge fund manager George Soros is one of the most politically powerful individuals on earth. Since the mid-1980s in particular, he has used his immense influence to help reconfigure the political landscapes of several countries around the world―in some cases playing a key role in toppling regimes that had held the reins of government for years, even decades. Vis à vis the United States, a strong case can be made for the claim that Soros today affects American politics and culture more profoundly that any other living person.
Much of Soros’s influence derives from his $13 billion personal fortune,1 which is further leveraged by at least another $25 billion in investor assets controlled by his firm, Soros Fund Management.2 An equally significant source of Soros’s power, however, is his passionate messianic zeal. Soros views himself as a missionary with something of a divine mandate to transform the world and its institutions into something better―as he sees it.
Over the years, Soros has given voice to this sense of grandiosity many times and in a variety of different ways. In his 1987 book The Alchemy of Finance, for instance, he wrote: “I admit that I have always harbored an exaggerated view of self-importance―to put it bluntly, I fancied myself as some kind of god or an economic reformer like Keynes or, even better, a scientist like Einstein.”3 Expanding on this theme in his 1991 book Underwriting Democracy, Soros said: “If truth be known, I carried some rather potent messianic fantasies with me from childhood,” fantasies which “I wanted to indulge … to the extent that I could afford.”4 In a June 1993 interview with The Independent, Soros, who is an atheist,5 said he saw himself as “some kind of god, the creator of everything.”6 In an interview two years later, he portrayed himself as someone who shared numerous attributes with “God in the Old Testament” ― “[Y]ou know, like invisible. I was pretty invisible. Benevolent. I was pretty benevolent. All-seeing. I tried to be all-seeing.”7 Soros told his biographer Michael Kaufman that his “goal” was nothing less ambitious than “to become the conscience of the world” by using his charitable foundations,8 which will be discussed at length in this pamphlet, to bankroll organizations and causes that he deems worthwhile.
“I realized [as a young man] that it’s money that makes the world go round,” says Soros, “so I might as well make money.… But having made it, I could then indulge my social concerns.”9 Invariably, those concerns center around a desire to change the world generally―and America particularly―into something new, something consistent with his vision of “social justice.” Claiming to be “driven” by “illusions, or perhaps delusions, of grandeur,”10 Soros has humorously described himself as “a kind of nut who wants to have an impact” on the workings of the world.11 The billionaire’s longtime friend Byron Wien, currently the vice chairman of Blackstone Advisory Services, offers this insight: “You must understand [Soros] thinks he’s been anointed by God to solve insoluble problems. The proof is that he has been so successful at making so much [money]. He therefore thinks he has a responsibility to give money away”―to causes that are consistent with his values and agendas.12
George Soros’s Roots and Development
George Soros was born to Tividar and Erzebat Schwartz, non-practicing Jews, in Budapest, Hungary on August 12, 1930. Tivadar was an attorney by profession, but the consuming passion of his life was the promotion of Esperanto―an artificial, “universal” language created during the 1880s in hopes that people worldwide might be persuaded to drop their native tongues and speak Esperanto instead―thereby, in theory at least, minimizing their nationalist impulses while advancing intercultural harmony. In 1936, Tivadar changed his family surname to Soros―a future-tense Esperanto verb meaning “will soar.”13
When the Nazis occupied Budapest in 1944, Tivadar decided to split up his family so as to minimize the chance that all its members would be killed together. For each of them―his wife and two sons―he purchased forged papers identifying them as Christians and then bribed Gentile families to take them into their homes. As for George in particular, the father bribed a Hungarian government official named Baumbach to claim George as his Christian godson, “Sandor Kiss,” and to let the boy live with him. One of Baumbach’s duties was to deliver deportation notices to Hungary’s Jews, confiscating their property and turning it over to Germany. Young George Soros sometimes accompanied the official on his rounds.14 Many years later, in December 1998, a CBS interviewer would ask Soros whether he had ever felt any guilt about his association with Baumbach during that period. Soros replied: “… I was only a spectator … I had no role in taking away that property. So I had no sense of guilt.”15
Soros today recalls the German occupation of Hungary as “probably the happiest year of my life.” “For me,” he elaborates, “it was a very positive experience. It’s a strange thing because you see incredible suffering around you and the fact you are in considerable danger yourself. But you’re fourteen years old and you don’t believe that it can actually touch you. You have a belief in yourself. You have a belief in your father. It’s a very happy-making, exhilarating experience.”16
In 1947 the Soros family relocated from Hungary to England, where George attended the London School of Economics (LSE). There, he was exposed to the works of the Viennese-born philosopher Karl Popper, who taught at LSE and whom Soros would later call his “spiritual mentor.”17 Though Soros never studied directly under Popper, he read the latter’s works and submitted some essays to him for review and comment. Most notably, Popper’s 1945 book The Open Society and Its Enemies introduced Soros to the concept of an “open society,” a theme that would play a central role in Soros’s thought and activities for the rest of his life.18
The term “open society” was originally coined in 1932 by the French philosopher Henri Louis Bergson, to describe societies whose moral codes were founded upon “universal” principles seeking to enhance the welfare of all mankind―as opposed to “closed” societies that placed self-interest above any concern for other nations and cultures.19 Popper readily embraced this concept and expanded upon it. In his view, the open society was a place that permitted its citizens the right to criticize and change its institutions as they saw fit; he rejected the imposed intellectual conformity, central planning, and historical determinism of Marxist doctrine.20 By Popper’s reckoning, a society was “closed”―and thus undesirable―if it assumed that it was in any way superior to other societies. Likewise, any belief system or individual claiming to be in possession of “ultimate truth” was an “enemy” of the open society as well. Popper viewed all knowledge as conjectural rather than certain, as evolving rather than fixed.
Thus, by logical extension, Popper did not share the American founders’ confident assertion that certain truths were “self-evident,” and that certain rights―such as the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” as referenced in the Declaration of Independence―were “unalienable” and thus not subject to doubt, because they had been granted to mankind by the ultimate authority, the “Creator.”21 We shall see that George Soros, as he grew to maturity, would likewise reject the founders’ premise. Indeed Soros would harbor great disdain for modern-day American political figures who displayed unshakable confidence in their own culture’s nobility, and who embraced the tenets of the Declaration and the U.S. Constitution as timeless, immutable truths. To Soros, “Popper’s greatest contribution to philosophy” was his teaching that “the ultimate truth remains permanently beyond our reach.”22
After graduating in 1952 from LSE, Soros joined the London brokerage firm Singer and Friedlander, where he became proficient in international arbitrage, which he defines as “buying securities in one country and selling them in another.”23 Four years later, he relocated to New York to work as a stock trader on Wall Street. Because Soros “did not particularly care for” the “commercial, crass” United States, he had no intention of settling permanently in America. Rather, he had devised a “five-year plan” to save some $500,000 and then return to Europe.24 His plan changed, however, when he found work as a portfolio manager at the investment bank Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Inc., where his career―as if to fulfill the prophecy embedded in the family surname his father had adopted two decades earlier―soared to new heights.
In 1959 Soros moved to Greenwich Village, New York, where early stirrings of the Sixties counterculture were already being felt. In September 1960 he married Annaliese Witschak, who would be his wife until the couple divorced 23 years later.25 In 1961 Soros became a U.S. citizen, and two years later he and Annaliese had their first child, a son. In the Village, it is likely that Soros was exposed to the ideas of the prominent socialist Michael Harrington, who mingled with fellow radicals and socialists almost nightly at a tavern situated barely a stone’s throw from Soros’s residence.26 In 1962 Harrington wrote The Other America, a book lamenting the fact that a substantial “invisible” underclass continued to exist even as the country at large prospered, and suggesting that a “war on poverty” was needed to rectify this. President Lyndon Johnson read and admired the book, and its ideas greatly influenced his Great Society policies of government-imposed redistribution of wealth.
Another prominent Village personality of the era―the poet, New Left radical, and psychedelic-drug guru Allen Ginsberg―would eventually become a “lifelong friend” of Soros. Though Soros may not have formally met Ginsberg until around 1980―long after his years in the Village―the billionaire today credits Ginsberg for having opened his eyes to the benefits of drug legalization, which has been one of Soros’s pet projects throughout his philanthropic career.27
In 1969 Soros established the “Double Eagle Fund” for Bleichroeder with $4 million in capital, including $250,000 of his own money. Four years later, Soros and his assistant at Bleichroeder, Jim Rogers, set up a private partnership called Soros Fund Management. They subsequently changed the Double Eagle Fund’s name to The Soros Fund. In 1979 they renamed it again―The Quantum Fund; its value grew to $381 million by 1980, and more than $1 billion by 1985.28
Soros the Philanthropist
It was in 1979 that Soros began testing the proverbial waters of philanthropy. Five years later he launched, in the country of his birth, the first of his many Open Society Foundations―named after the concept advanced by Karl Popper―to help “build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.”29 But it was not until 1987, the year he opened his Moscow office, that Soros began to disseminate truly large amounts of money to various groups and causes. “My spending rose from $3 million in 1987 to more than $300 million a year by 1992,” he said.30 During this period, Soros established a series of foundations throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia.31 He happily observed that because of his extraordinary wealth, major political figures “suddenly became very interested in seeing me…. [M]y influence increased.”32 Today Soros’s Open Society Foundations are active in more than 70 countries around the world.33
In 1993 Soros established the flagship of the Soros foundation network―the New York City-based Open Society Institute (OSI). While OSI’s philanthropy extends to a number of nations around the world, it is chiefly devoted to injecting capital into American groups and causes. In his book Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism, Soros explains that the “open society” which he seeks to advance by means of philanthropy, “stands for freedom, democracy, rule of law, human rights, social justice, and social responsibility as a universal idea.”34 But of course, abstract concepts like these, draped in vestments of lofty rhetoric, can mean radically different things to different people.
Entrusted with the task of defining the foregoing terms for the Open Society Institute, and for articulating the Institute’s agendas from the outset, was Aryeh Neier, whom Soros appointed to serve as president not only of OSI, but of the entire Soros Foundation Network. Thirty-four years earlier, Neier had created the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), which became the largest and most important radical group of the 1960s. SDS aspired to overthrow America’s democratic institutions, remake its government in a Marxist image, and undermine the nation’s war efforts in Vietnam. (A particularly militant faction of SDS would later break away to form the Weather Underground, a notorious domestic terror organization with a Marxist-Leninist agenda.) Following his stint with SDS, Neier worked fifteen years for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)―including eight years as its national executive director. After that, he spent twelve years as executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), an organization he founded in 1978.35
The Soros Agendas
Both the ACLU and HRW have long promoted one of the central contentions of Soros’s Open Society Institute: the notion that America is institutionally an oppressive nation and a habitual violator of human rights both at home and abroad―indeed, the very antithesis of the type of “open society” Soros reveres. Consider first the ACLU, whose advisory board once included the former Weather Underground terrorist Bernardine Dohrn.36 The ACLU has opposed virtually all post-9/11 national security measures enacted by the U.S. government, depicting those measures not only as excessively harsh and invasive generally, but also as discriminatory against Muslims in particular.37 Moreover, the organization has filed numerous lawsuits seeking to limit the government’s ability to locate, monitor, and apprehend terrorist operatives. It consistently depicts American society as one that is rife with intractable racial injustice. And it works tirelessly to protect illegal immigrants against “governmental abuse and discrimination.”38 These (and many other) ACLU activities and policy positions are entirely consistent with those of Aryeh Neier and George Soros, as evidenced by the fact that between 1999 and 2008, OSI awarded $8.69 million in grants to the ACLU Foundation.39
Neier’s other training ground, Human Rights Watch, has a long history of pointing an accusatory finger at America’s allegedly numerous transgressions. Most notably, HRW has derided the U.S. war on terror as a foolhardy endeavor rooted in blindness to the realization that terrorism stems, in large measure, from America’s failure “to promote fundamental rights around the world.”40 In a March 2007 speech, HRW executive director Kenneth Roth charged that the United States, by routinely “using torture and inhumane treatment” to deal with its foes, had “severely damaged its credibility when it comes to promoting human rights” in other nations.41 Between 2000 and 2008, the Open Society Institute awarded grants and other contributions to HRW that collectively totaled $6,386,477.42 Then, in September 2010, Soros announced that he would soon be giving HRW another $100 million.43 Notably, Soros himself once served on HRW’s Europe and Central Asia Advisory Committee.44
OSI’s total assets today exceed $1.9 billion. Each year, the Institute awards scores of millions of dollars in grants to organizations that―like the ACLU and HRW―promote worldviews and objectives accordant with those of George Soros.45 Following is a sampling of the major agendas advanced by groups that Soros and OSI support financially. Listed under each category heading are a few OSI donees fitting that description.
Organizations that accuse America of violating the civil rights and liberties of many of its residents:
- The Arab American Institute impugns many of the “sweeping” and “unreasonable” post-9/11 counterterrorism measures that have unfairly “targeted Arab Americans.”46
- The Bill of Rights Defense Committee has persuaded the political leadership in more than 400 American cities and counties to pledge noncompliance with the anti-terrorism measure known as the Patriot Act, on grounds that the legislation tramples on people’s civil liberties.47
Organizations that depict America as a nation whose enduring racism must be counterbalanced by racial and ethnic preferences in favor of nonwhites:
- The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund calls itself “the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization.”48
- The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law provides “legal services to address racial discrimination.”49
- The NAACP and its Legal Defense and Educational Fund uses “litigation, advocacy, and public education” to promote “structural changes” and “achieve racial justice in the United States”50
- The National Council of La Raza charges that “discrimination severely limits the economic and social opportunities available to Hispanic Americans.”51
Organizations that specifically portray the American criminal-justice system as racist and inequitable:
- The Sentencing Project asserts that prison-sentencing patterns discriminate against nonwhites, and seeks “to reduce the reliance on incarceration.”52
- Critical Resistance contends that crime stems from “inequality and powerlessness,” which can be rectified through wholesale redistribution of wealth.53
- The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights charges that criminal laws “are enforced in a manner that is massively and pervasively biased.”54
Organizations that call for massive social change, and for the recruitment and training of activist leaders to help foment that change:
- The Center for Community Change is “dedicated to finding the [progressive] stars of tomorrow and preparing them to lead.”55
- The Gamaliel Foundation teaches social-change “techniques and methodologies.”56
- The Ruckus Society promotes “nonviolent direct action against unjust institutions and policies.”57
- The American Institute for Social Justice aims to “transform poor communities” by agitating for increased government spending on social-welfare programs.58
- The Institute for America’s Future “regularly convenes and educates progressive leaders, organizations, candidates, opinion makers, and activists.”59
- People for the American Way, founded by television producer Norman Lear to oppose the allegedly growing influence of the “religious right,” seeks “to cultivate new generations of leaders and activists” who will promote “progressive values.”60
- Democracy For America operates an academy that has taught more than 10,000 recruits nationwide how to “focus, network, and train grassroots activists in the skills and strategies to take back our country.”61
- The Midwest Academy trains radical activists in the tactics of direct action, confrontation, and intimidation. Author Stanley Kurtz has described this academy as a “crypto-socialist organization” that was “arguably the most influential force in community organizing from the seventies through the nineties.”62
Organizations that disparage capitalism while promoting a dramatic expansion of social-welfare programs funded by ever-escalating taxes:
- The Center for Economic and Policy Research asserts that “the welfare state has softened the impact” of “the worst excesses and irrationalities of a market system” and its “injustices.”63
- The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities advocates greater tax expenditures on such assistance programs as Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, food stamps, and low-income housing initiatives.64
- The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights was founded by the revolutionary communist Van Jones. This anti-poverty organization claims that “decades of disinvestment in our cities,” coupled with America’s allegedly imperishable racism, have “led to despair and homelessness.”65
- The Emma Lazarus Fund: In 1996 George Soros said he was “appalled” by the recently signed welfare-reform law that empowered states to limit legal immigrants’ access to public assistance. In response to this “mean-spirited attack on immigrants,” he launched an Open Society Institute project known as the Emma Lazarus Fund and endowed it with $50 million.66
Organizations that support socialized medicine in the United States:
- Health Care for America Now (HCAN) is a vast network of organizations supporting, ideally, a “single-payer” model where the federal government would be in charge of financing and administering the entire U.S. healthcare system.67 During the political debate over “Obamacare” in 2009 and 2010, HCAN’s strategy was to try to achieve such a system incrementally, first by implementing a “public option”—i.e., a government insurance agency to “compete” with private insurers, so that Americans would be “no longer at the mercy of the private insurance industry.”68 Because such an agency would not need to show a profit in order to remain in business, and because it could tax and regulate its private competitors in whatever fashion it pleased, this “public option” would inevitably force private insurers out of the industry. In August 2009, Soros pledged to give HCAN $5 million to promote its campaign for reform.69
Organizations that strive to move American politics to the left by promoting the election of progressive political candidates:
- Project Vote is the voter-mobilization arm of the notoriously corrupt ACORN, whose voter-registration drives and get-out-the-vote initiatives have been marred by massive levels of fraud and corruption.70
- Catalist seeks “to help progressive organizations realize … electoral success by building and operating a robust national voter database.”71
- The Brennan Center for Justice aims to “fully restore voting rights following criminal conviction”72―significant because research shows that ex-felons are far likelier to vote for Democratic political candidates than for Republicans.73
- The Progressive States Network seeks to “pass progressive legislation in all fifty states by providing coordinated research and strategic advocacy tools to forward-thinking state legislators.”74
- The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, to which George Soros personally donated $8,000 in 2010, works “to elect bold progressive candidates to federal office … more often.”75
Organizations that promote leftist ideals and worldviews in the media and the arts:
- The American Prospect, Inc. is the owner and publisher of The American Prospect magazine, which tries to “counteract the growing influence of conservative media.”76
- Free Press is a “media reform” organization co-founded by Robert McChesney, who calls for “a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system” and to “rebuil[d] the entire society on socialist principles.”77
- The Independent Media Institute aims to “change the world”78 via projects like AlterNet, an online news magazine calling itself “a key player in the echo chamber of progressive ideas and vision.”79
- The Nation Institute operates synergistically with the far-left Nation magazine, which works “to extend the reach of progressive ideas” into the American mainstream.80
- The Pacifica Foundation owns and operates Pacifica Radio, awash from its birth with the socialist-Marxist rhetoric of class warfare and anti-capitalism.
- Media Matters For America: For a number of years, the Open Society Institute gave indirect funding―filtering its grants first through other Soros-backed operations81―to this “progressive research and information center” which “monitor[s]” and “correct[s] conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.”82 In October 2010, Soros announced that he would soon donate $1 million directly to Media Matters.83
- Sundance Institute: In 1996, Soros launched his Soros Documentary Fund to produce “social justice” films that would “spur awareness, action and social change.” In 2001, this Fund became part of actor-director Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute. Between 1996 and 2008, OSI earmarked at least $5.2 million for the production of several hundred documentaries, many of which were highly critical of capitalism, American society, or Western culture generally.84 In 2009, Soros pledged another $5 million to the Sundance Institute.85
Organizations that seek to inject the American judicial system with leftist values:
- The Alliance for Justice consistently depicts Republican judicial nominees as “radical right-wing[ers]” and “extremists” whose views range far outside the boundaries of mainstream public opinion.86
- The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy seeks to indoctrinate young law students to view the Constitution as an evolving or “living” document,87 and to reject “conservative buzzwords such as ‘originalism‘ and ‘strict construction.’”88
- Justice at Stake89 promotes legislation that would replace judicial elections with a “merit-selection” system where a small committee of legal elites, unaccountable to the public, would pick those most “qualified” to serve as judges. OSI has spent at least $45.4 million on efforts to change the way judges are chosen in many American states.90
Organizations that advance leftist agendas by infiltrating churches and religious congregations:
- Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good advocates a brand of “social justice” that would counteract the “greed, materialism, and excessive individualism” that are allegedly inherent in capitalism.91
- Sojourners characterizes wealth redistribution as the fulfillment of a biblical mandate.92 Jim Wallis, the founder of this evangelical Christian ministry, has expressed his hope that “more Christians will come to view the world through Marxist eyes.”93
- People Improving Communities through Organizing uses “people of faith” as foot soldiers in its crusade for the “transformation” of “people, institutions, and … our larger culture.”94
- Catholics for Choice―formerly known as Catholics for a Free Choice―is a nominally Catholic organization that “believes in a world where everyone has equal access to … safe and legal abortion services.”95
Think tanks that promote leftist policies:
- The Institute for Policy Studies has long supported Communist and anti-American causes around the world. It seeks to provide a corrective to the “unrestrained greed” of “markets and individualism.”96
- The New America Foundation tries to influence public opinion on such topics as healthcare, environmentalism, energy policy, and global governance.97
- The Urban Institute favors socialized medicine, expansion of the federal welfare bureaucracy, and tax hikes for higher income-earners.98
Organizations that promote open borders, mass immigration, a watering down of current immigration laws, increased rights and benefits for illegal aliens, and ultimately amnesty:
- The American Immigration Council―formerly known as the the American Immigration Law Foundation―supports “birthright citizenship” for children born to illegal immigrants in the U.S.99
- Casa de Maryland periodically sponsors “know your rights” training sessions to teach illegals how to evade punishment in the event that they are apprehended in an immigration raid.100
- The Immigrant Legal Resource Center belongs to the sanctuary movement that tries to shield illegal aliens from the law.101
- The Migration Policy Institute advocates a more permissive U.S. refugee admissions and resettlement policy, as well as more social-welfare benefits for illegals residing in the U.S.102
- LatinoJustice PRLDF is a legal advocacy group that “protects opportunities for all Latinos … especially the most vulnerable―new immigrants and the poor.”103
- The Immigration Policy Center states that “[r]equiring the 10-11 million unauthorized immigrants residing in the U.S. to register with the government and meet eligibility criteria in order to gain legal status is a key element of comprehensive immigration reform.”104
- The National Immigration Forum opposes the enhancement of the U.S. Border Patrol and the construction of a border fence to prevent illegal immigration.105
- The National Immigration Law Center works to help low-income immigrants gain access to government-funded welfare programs on the same basis as legal American citizens.106
Organizations that oppose virtually all post-9/11 national-security measures enacted by the U.S. government:
- The Center for Constitutional Rights, founded by four longtime supporters of communist causes,107 has condemned the “immigration sweeps, ghost detentions, extraordinary rendition, and every other illegal program the government has devised” in response to “the so-called War on Terror.”108
- The National Security Archive Fund collects and publishes declassified documents (obtained through the Freedom of Information Act) to a degree that compromises American national security and the safety of intelligence agents.109
Organizations that defend suspected anti-American terrorists and their abetters:
- The Constitution Project has supported such notorious figures as Salim Ahmed Hamdan (Osama bin Laden‘s bodyguard and chauffeur) and Jose Padilla (an American Islamic convert and terrorist plotter). Moreover, the Project contends that it is illegal for the U.S. government to detain terror suspects if the evidence against them was obtained through “torture.”110
- The Lynne Stewart Defense Committee was established to support Lynne Stewart, who is a criminal-defense attorney and an America-hating Maoist. Stewart was convicted of illegally helping her incarcerated client, the “blind sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman, pass messages to an Egypt-based Islamic terrorist organization. In September 2002, the Open Society Institute gave $20,000111 to this committee; OSI vice president Gara LaMarche characterized Ms. Stewart as a “human rights defender.”112
Organizations that depict virtually all American military actions as unwarranted and immoral:
- Amnesty International: In 2005, this group’s then-executive director William Schulz alleged that the United States had become “a leading purveyor and practitioner” of torture.113 Schulz’s remarks were echoed by Amnesty’s then-secretary general Irene Khan, who charged that the Guantanamo Bay detention center, where the U.S. was housing several hundred captured terror suspects, “has become the gulag of our time.”114
- Global Exchange was founded by Medea Benjamin, a pro-Castro radical who helped establish a project known as Iraq Occupation Watch for the purpose of encouraging widespread desertion by “conscientious objectors” in the U.S. military.115 In December 2004, Benjamin announced that Global Exchange would be sending aid to the families of terrorist insurgents who were fighting American troops in Iraq.116
Organizations that advocate America’s unilateral disarmament and/or a steep reduction in its military spending:
- The American Friends Service Committee, which views America as the world’s chief source of international strife, has long had a friendly relationship with the Communist Party USA.117 Lamenting that “the United States spends 59% of the discretionary federal budget on military-related expenses,” the Committee seeks to “realig[n] national spending priorities and to increase the portion of the budget that is spent on housing, quality education for all, medical care, and fair wages.”118 In 2000, George Soros himself was a signatory to a letter titled “Appeal for Responsible Security” that appeared in The New York Times. The letter called upon the U.S. government “to commit itself unequivocally to negotiate the worldwide reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons,” and to participate in “the global de-alerting of nuclear weapons and deep reduction of nuclear stockpiles.”119
Organizations that promote radical environmentalism:
Groups in this category typically oppose mining and logging initiatives, commercial fishing enterprises, development and construction in wilderness areas, the use of coal, the use of pesticides, and oil and gas exploration in “environmentally sensitive” locations. Moreover, they claim that human industrial activity leads to excessive carbon-dioxide emissions which, in turn, cause a potentially cataclysmic phenomenon called “global warming.” Examples of such Soros donees include Earthjustice, Green For All, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Alliance for Climate Protection, Friends of the Earth, and the Earth Island Institute.
Another major recipient of Soros money is the Tides Foundation, which receives cash from all manner of donors―individuals, groups, and other foundations―and then funnels it to designated left-wing recipients. Having given more than $400 million to “progressive nonprofit organizations” since 2000,120 Tides is a heavy backer of environmental organizations, though its philanthropy extends also into many other areas.
George Soros presents himself as an environmentalist of the first order and is quick to condemn industrial corporations for allegedly trampling recklessly over the earth’s ecosystems in pursuit of the almighty dollar. But in fact, Soros himself has proven to be quite willing to despoil Mother Nature in exchange for profits of his own. Consider, for example, his involvement in the Argentine beef industry, which environmentalists claim is responsible for massive levels of water pollution and deforestation. Argentina’s biggest landowner is none other than George Soros, with some 500,000 hectares of land and 150,000 head of cattle to his name.121 Moreover, Soros is a part owner of Apex Silver Mines, which operates in a remote and ecologically sensitive region of Bolivia.122
Organizations that oppose the death penalty in all circumstances:
In 2000 George Soros co-signed a letter to President Bill Clinton asking for a moratorium on the death penalty, on grounds that it tended to be implemented disproportionately against black and Hispanic offenders.123
Consistent with the billionaire’s opposition to capital punishment, his Open Society Institute has given millions of dollars to anti-death penalty organizations such as New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty, Witness to Innocence, Equal Justice USA, the Death Penalty Information Center, People of Faith against the Death Penalty, and the Fair Trial Initiative.
Organizations that promote modern-day feminism’s core tenet―that America is fundamentally a sexist society where discrimination and violence against women have reached epidemic proportions:
- The Feminist Majority Foundation “focus[es] on advancing the legal, social and political equality of women with men, countering the backlash to women’s advancement, and recruiting and training young feminists…”124
- The Ms. Foundation for Women laments that although “women are more than half the [U.S.] population … they don’t have equal opportunity, voice or power.”125
- The National Partnership for Women and Families asserts that “women today are still paid only $0.77 to a man’s dollar”126―an assertion that is grossly misleading and substantively untrue.127
- Soros donees in this category include theCenter for Reproductive Rights, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Abortion Federation, Planned Parenthood, and Choice USA.
Organizations that favor global government which would bring American foreign policy under the control of the United Nations or other international bodies:
According to George Soros, “[W]e need some global system of political decision-making. In short, we need a global society to support our global economy.”129 Consistent with this perspective, the Open Society Institute in 2008 gave $150,000 to the United Nations Foundation, which “works to broaden support for the UN through advocacy and public outreach.”130 Moreover, OSI is considered a “major” funder of the Coalition for an International Criminal Court,131 which aims to subordinate American criminal-justice procedures in certain cases to an international prosecutor who could initiate capricious or politically motivated prosecutions of U.S. officials and military officers.132
Organizations that support drug legalization:
Dismissing the notion of “a drug-free America” as nothing more than “a utopian dream,” George Soros says that “the war on drugs” is “insane” and, “like the Vietnam War,” simply “cannot be won.”133 “I’ll tell you what I would do if it were up to me,” says Soros. “I would establish a strictly controlled distribution network through which I would make most drugs, excluding the most dangerous ones like crack, legally available.”134 In 1998 Soros was a signatory to a public letter addressed to United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, declaring that “the global war on drugs is now causing more harm than drug abuse itself.”135 The letter blamed the war on drugs for impeding such public health efforts as stemming the spread of HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases, as well as human rights violations and the perpetration of environmental assaults. Other notable signers included Peter Lewis, Tammy Baldwin, Rev. William Sloan Coffin, Jr., Walter Cronkite, Morton H. Halperin, Kweisi Mfume, and Cornel West.
Soros and his Open Society Institute have given many millions of dollars to groups supporting drug-legalization and needle-exchange programs. In 1996, former Carter administration official Joseph Califano called Soros “the Daddy Warbucks of drug legalization.”136 According to a Capital Research Center publication, “It’s no exaggeration to say that without Soros there would be no serious lobby against the drug war.”137
A leading recipient of Soros funding is the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), which seeks to loosen narcotics laws, promotes “treatment-not-incarceration” policies for non-violent drug offenders, and advocates syringe-access programs “to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.”138 Soros himself formerly sat on the DPA board of directors.139 As recently as 2010, Soros contributed $1 million to support a California ballot measure known as Proposition 19, which would have legalized personal marijuana use in the state; the measure, however, was rejected by voters on election day.140
Peter Schweizer, author of Do As I Say (Not As I Do), speculates on the possible reasons underlying Soros’s support for drug legalization:
“One very possible answer is that he hopes to profit from them [drugs] once they become legal. He has been particularly active in South America, buying up large tracts of land and forging alliances with those in a position to mass-produce narcotics should they become legalized in the United States. He has also helped fund the Andean Council of Coca Leaf producers. Needless to say, this organization would stand to benefit enormously from the legalization of cocaine. He has also taken a 9 percent stake in Banco de Colombia, located in the Colombian drug capital of Cali. The Drug Enforcement Administration has speculated that the bank is being used to launder money and that Soros’s fellow shareholders may be members of a major drug cartel.”141
Organizations that support euthanasia for the terminally ill:
Soros has long promoted the cause of physician-assisted suicide in an effort to change public attitudes about death. Toward that end, in 1994 he began giving money to the (now defunct) Project on Death in America (PDA), whose purpose was to provide “end-of-life” assistance for ailing people and to enact public policy that will “transform the culture and experience of dying and bereavement.”142 Over a 9-year period, the Open Society Institute gave $45 million to PDA.143
Notably, PDA’s mission was congruent with the goals of those who support government-run health care, which invariably features bureaucracies tasked with allocating scarce resources and thus determining who will, and who will not, be eligible for particular medications and treatments. Such bureaucracies generally make their calculations based upon cost-benefit analyses of a variety of possible treatments. Ultimately these decisions tend to disfavor the very old and the very sick, because whatever benefits they might gain from expensive interventions are likely to be of short duration, and thus are not judged to be worth the costs. Soros himself has suggested that “[a]ggressive, life-prolonging interventions, which may at times go against the patient’s wishes, are much more expensive than proper care for the dying.”144 Additional pro-euthanasia groups funded by Soros and OSI are the following:
- The Death with Dignity National Center seeks to allow “terminally ill individuals meeting stringent safeguards to hasten their own deaths” by way of lethal drug prescriptions.145
- The Compassion in Dying Federation of America advocates “aid-in-dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults.”146
Organizations that have pressured mortgage lenders to make loans to undercapitalized borrowers, a practice that helped spark the subprime mortgage crisis and housing-market collapse of 2008:
- The Greenlining Institute147―by threatening to publicly accuse banks of racially discriminatory lending practices―has successfully negotiated loan commitments of more than $2.4 trillion from America’s financial institutions.148
- The Center for Responsible Lending, according to Americans for Prosperity vice president Phil Kerpen, has “shak[en] down and harass[ed] banks into making bad loans to unqualified borrowers.”149
Soros’s Political Campaign Contributions
Apart from the more than $5 billion that Soros’ foundation network has donated to leftist groups like those cited above, Soros personally has made campaign contributions to such notable political candidates as Charles Rangel, Al Franken, Tom Udall, Joe Sestak, Sherrod Brown, Harry Reid, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, Ken Salazar, Patrick Leahy, John Kerry, Charles Schumer, Howard Dean, Bill Clinton, Tom Harkin, Jon Corzine, Joe Biden, Richard Durbin, Lane Evans, Dennis Kucinich, Maurice Hinchey, and Al Gore. He also has given large sums of money to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and the Democratic National Committee Services Corporation.
Soros Meets the Clintons
Around the time that George Soros initially launched his Manhattan-based Open Society Institute, he established what would prove to be a warm and enduring relationship with Bill and Hillary Clinton, the new American President and First Lady. When the Clintons took office in early 1993, they faced the daunting task of helping the collapsed Soviet empire rise from its ruins and cultivate a harmonious relationship with the United States. To lead this endeavor, President Clinton appointed three men: Treasury Department official Lawrence Summers, Vice President Al Gore, and soon-to-be State Department official Strobe Talbott. Talbott in particular was given a large degree of authority, prompting some observers to dub him as Clinton’s “Russian policy czar.”150 It so happened that Talbot had an exceptionally high regard for the financial expertise of George Soros―describing him as “a national resource, indeed, a national treasure”―and thus he recruited the billionaire to serve as a key advisor on U.S.-Russian matters.151
Soros, in turn, had connections with a young economist whom he had been funding―Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Harvard Institute for International Development. The U.S. Agency for International Development assigned Sachs’ Institute to oversee Russia’s transformation to a market economy after more than seven decades of communism. As a consequence of this assignment, Sachs and his team essentially represented the United States as official economic advisors to Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Soros worked closely with Sachs on this project, and the pair held enormous sway over Yeltsin.152 So great was their influence, in fact, that on one occasion Soros quipped that “the former Soviet Empire is now called the Soros Empire.”153 But before long, members of Sachs’s team became involved in massive corruption, exploiting for personal gain their access to Russia’s political and economic leaders. Their actions contributed to the collapse of the Russian economy and to the diversion of some $100 billion out of the country.154 Though Sachs himself was not accused of profiting personally from these activities, he resigned as director of the Harvard Institute in May 1999, under a dark cloud of scandal.155 The U.S. House Banking Committee investigated the matter and called Soros to testify. The billionaire denied culpability but admitted that he had used insider access in an illegal deal to acquire a large portion of Sidanko Oil.156 Soros further acknowledged in Congressional testimony that some of the missing Russian assets had made their way into his personal investment portfolio.157 House Banking Committee chairman Jim Leach characterized the entire sordid affair as “one of the greatest social robberies in human history.”158
As the Nineties progressed, it became increasingly evident that Bill and Hillary Clinton embraced virtually all of the values and agendas that George Soros was funding through his Open Society Institute. “I do now have great access in [the Clinton] administration,” said Soros in 1995. “There is no question about this. We actually work together as a team.”159
Soros and Mrs. Clinton in particular held one another in the highest esteem. In November 1997, when Hillary was in Central Asia for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newly built American University of Kyrgyzstan, she delivered a speech in which she lavished praise on Soros’s Open Society Institute, which had financed the school’s construction.160 One source close to Mrs. Clinton’s inner circle, Center for American Democracy director Rachel Ehrenfeld, reports that Soros visited Hillary at the White House during the Bill Clinton impeachment proceedings of 1998-99, when the First Lady was receiving only her most trusted confidantes.161 A few years later, at a June 2004 “Take Back America” conference in Washington, Mrs. Clinton introduced Soros as a courageous man who loved his country deeply. “[W]e need people like George Soros,” she said, “who is fearless, and willing to step up when it counts.” Soros, in turn, indicated that he was “very, very proud to be introduced” by someone for whom he had such “great, great admiration.” He described Hillary as someone who had been “more effective than most of our statesmen in propagating democracy, freedom, and open society.”162
September 11, and Soros’s Deeper Immersion into American Politics
September 11, 2001 was a watershed moment not only in American history but also in George Soros’s philanthropic career. Soros viewed the 9/11 terrorist attacks as confirmation that U.S. foreign policy―particularly under President George W. Bush, who had taken office eight months earlier―was moving in a dangerous direction, giving rise to anti-American hatred in the hearts of people all across the globe. By Soros’s reckoning, Bush embodied the very antithesis of the “open society” ideal. Specifically, the billionaire detested what he viewed as the arrogance the President displayed when he publicly branded America’s enemies as “evil”; when he unapologetically expressed his faith in the exceptionalism of his own culture; and when he seemed disinclined to consider the possibility that the terrorists may have had something valuable to teach Americans about how the rest of the world perceived the United States. Moreover, Soros considered terrorism to be, in large measure, a consequence of economic inequity and the exploitation of poor countries by their wealthier counterparts.
Reasoning from these premises, Soros―while conceding that the retaliatory U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was justifiable163―maintained that the proper long-term response to 9/11 would be for America to launch a global war on poverty. Such an undertaking would be modeled on the Great Society programs which the Johnson administration had instituted in the 1960s―on the theory that by pouring rivers of taxpayer dollars into the nation’s violence-torn ghettos, the presumably justified rage of the rioters could be quelled. In a similar vein, Soros now held that the best way to fight international terrorism would be for the affluent USA to send massive amounts of aid to impoverished regions around the world where the phenomenon tended to originate. Indeed, he had long maintained that the “root causes” of terrorism were “poverty” and “ignorance.”164 Just eight days after 9/11, Soros gave a speech where he said that the “cornerstone” of his “plan” was to “address the social conditions that provide a fertile ground from which [terrorist] volunteers who are willing to sacrifice their lives can be recruited.” This plan would call on “rich countries” to boost their levels of “international assistance,” which―while unlikely to “prevent people like bin Laden from exercising their evil genius”―would “help to alleviate the grievances on which extremism of all kinds feeds.”165
On subsequent occasions, Soros would reiterate his belief that terrorism was caused by a dearth of “international income redistribution” and a “growing inequality between rich and poor, both within countries and among countries.”166 “A global open society,” Soros stressed, “requires affirmative action on a global scale.”167 By contrast, Soros was largely silent on the issue of Islam’s longstanding tradition of jihad, which predated by many hundreds of years any potentially objectionable U.S. foreign-policy initiatives. Rather, he called for a “radical reordering” of American “priorities,” where “[i]nstead of devoting the bulk of the budget to military expenditures to implement the Bush doctrine, we would engage in preventive actions of a constructive nature.”168 “The United States cannot do whatever it wants,” he scolded. “… Our nation must concern itself with the well-being of the world.”169
In Soros’s calculus, 9/11 represented “an unusual opportunity to rethink and reshape the world.” Observing that the recent attacks had “shocked” Americans “into realizing that others may regard them very differently from the way they see themselves,” Soros posited that his fellow countrymen were “more ready to reassess the world and the role the United States plays in it than in normal times.”170 And acknowledging that “[t]his awareness may not last long,” he said: “I am determined not to let the moment pass.”171
The urgency which Soros felt with regard to seizing the moment was further heightened on the night of January 29, 2002, when George W. Bush delivered his State of the Union address. In that speech, the President made his first controversial reference to Iraq as part of an “axis of evil” that posed a potentially deadly threat to America. Bush intimated that he would soon turn his foreign-policy attention toward Saddam Hussein‘s regime, which continued to “flaunt its hostility toward America,” “support terror,” and violate its international agreements. As the President pledged not to “wait on events while dangers gather,” nor to “stand by as peril draws closer and closer,” speculation about a possible U.S. invasion of Iraq began to coalesce.172 In Soros’s view, such an invasion would be yet another misguided and senseless endeavor, and he was determined to do whatever he could to prevent it.
The very next month, Soros appointed former Clinton administration official Morton Halperin to the post of Open Society Institute director. Halperin, whom some State Department officials suspected of being a communist agent,173 had been instrumental in derailing America’s war effort during the Vietnam era, when President Johnson put him in charge of compiling a classified history of U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Halperin’s labor ultimately bore fruit―in June 1971―with the publication of the notorious “Pentagon Papers.”174 Thereafter, Halperin went on to serve (from 1975-1992) as director of an ACLU project called the Center for National Security Studies, which sought to slash U.S. defense expenditures and undermine the nation’s intelligence capabilities.175 In Target America―James L. Tyson’s 1981 exposé of the Soviet Union’s elaborate “propaganda campaign designed to weaken and demoralize America from the inside”―the author stated:
“Halperin … and his organizations have had a constant record of advocating the weakening of U.S. intelligence capabilities. His organizations are also notable for ignoring the activities of the KGB or any other foreign intelligence organization…. A balance sheet analysis of Halperin’s writings and testimonies … gives Halperin a score of 100% on the side of output favorable to the Communist line and 0% on any output opposed to the Communist line.”176
Like Halperin, George Soros stridently counseled against military intervention in Iraq, warning that an invasion “would actually be a victory for the terrorists”―because the inevitable killing of “innocent civilians” would give groups like al Qaeda “the kind of radicalization that they are looking for” in order to justify “a vicious cycle of escalating violence.”177 “War is a false and misleading metaphor in the context of combating terrorism,” said Soros. “Treating the attacks of September 11 as crimes against humanity would have been more appropriate. Crimes require police work, not military action.”178 Moreover, Soros characterized the so-called “Bush doctrine” of preemptive military action against those who may pose a threat to the U.S. an “atrocious proposition.”179
By the time the U.S. invaded Iraq in early 2003, Soros’s contempt for President Bush’s “imperialist vision” had reached a fever pitch.180 Accusing Bush of “deliberately foster[ing] fear because it helps to keep the nation lined up behind the president,” Soros added cynically: “Terrorism is the ideal enemy. It is invisible and therefore never disappears. An enemy that poses a genuine and recognized threat can effectively hold a nation together.”181 In August, Soros warned that the very “fate of the world depends on the United States, and President Bush is leading us in the wrong direction” with his “false and dangerous” doctrine.182 In the fall, Soros referred to Bush administration officials and Republicans generally as “extremists” who “don’t believe in the system of democracy as we know it”; and who embraced “a very dangerous ideology” which held that “the United States … should impose its power, impose its will and its interests on the world.”183
Soros routinely condemned Bush for his “unabashed pursuit of self-interest”;184 for “equat[ing] freedom with American values”; for holding the “simplistic view” that “[w]e are right and they are wrong”;185 and for harboring a “false sense of certitude” that Americans had “right on our side.”186 Each of these transgressions, Soros explained, violated the “principles of open society, which recognize that we may be wrong.”187 “The supremacist ideology of the Bush administration,” he added, “is in contradiction with the principles of an open society because it claims possession of an ultimate truth.”188
As the Iraq War took an increasing toll in terms of both American and Iraqi lives, Soros wrote that the U.S. military response to 9/11 had actually turned out to be a greater moral atrocity than the original “crime” that prompted it, because the war “has claimed more innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq than have the attacks on the World Trade Center.” In short, Soros characterized the Bush administration’s “pursuit of American supremacy” as more dangerous than Islamist terror.189
Not only did Soros believe that Bush was following a mindless and perilous policy, but he saw the President’s motives as wholly dishonorable. Soros repeatedly accused Bush of using intelligence that had been “exposed as exaggerated or even false” to justify the invasion of Iraq under “false pretenses.”190 He denounced “the exploitation of September 11 by the Bush administration to pursue its policy of dominating the world in the guise of fighting terrorism.”191 He expanded on this theme by accusing Bush of seeking “to justify repressive measures” on the home front while “establish[ing] a secure alternative to Saudi oil” in the Mideast.192 “The other important consideration,” Soros added, “was Israel.” He intimated that Bush, by flexing U.S. muscle in the Middle East, was signaling his readiness to intervene in affairs that could potentially affect America’s closest ally in the region. By so doing, said Soros, the President was catering to “the traditional pro-Israel lobby” which included “the evangelical right―and that is the core of the president’s constituency.”193
As Soros saw things, the President’s arrogance and corruption had filtered down perceptibly into the ranks of the military personnel who were carrying out Bush’s mission. Thus Soros likened the conduct of American troops to that of communist and fascist thugs, asserting that “the picture of torture in Abu Ghraib” was proof that “the way President Bush conducted the war on terror converted us from victims into perpetrators.”194 Soros charged that not only had America “violated international law” by “invading Iraq … without a second UN Resolution,” but that it had “violated the Geneva Conventions” by “mistreating and even torturing prisoners.”195
On numerous occasions, Soros drew parallels between the Bush administration and some of history’s most infamous totalitarian regimes. Bush’s view that “there is only one model of democracy,” said Soros, was “as false, and potentially as dangerous, as that of the Communists’ belief that there is only one way to organize society.”196 Soros further likened Bush’s “Orwellian” assertion that “[y]ou can have freedom as long as you do what we tell you to do,” to Soviet rhetoric about “people’s democracies.”197 “When I hear President Bush say, ‘You’re either with us or against us,’ it reminds me of the Germans,” Soros stated. “My experiences under Nazi and Soviet rule have sensitized me.”198 “Who would have thought sixty years ago,” asked Soros, “when Karl Popper wrote The Open Society and Its Enemies, that the United States itself could pose a threat to open society? Yet that is what is happening, both internally and internationally.”199
In a September 29, 2003 interview with BBC radio, Soros said it was imperative that there be “a regime change in the United States”―meaning that President Bush must be “voted out of power.”200 In November, Soros said that because “America, under Bush, is a danger to the world,” the outcome of the forthcoming year’s presidential race had become “the central focus of my life.” “And I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is,” Soros added, declaring that he would willingly trade his entire multi-billion-dollar fortune if doing so could be “guaranteed” to unseat Bush.201 To his litany of grievances against the President, Soros now added the infamous Florida recount debacle of 2000 and called into question the very legitimacy of Bush’s election victory. “President Bush came to office without a clear mandate,” said Soros. “He was elected president by a single vote on the Supreme Court.”202
The types of changes America needed were crystal clear to Soros. Above all else, he wished to steer the country, politically and ideologically, in a direction that was consistent with the agendas of the groups that he had been funding for a decade through his Open Society Institute. Those agendas could essentially be distilled down to three overriding themes: the diminution of American power, the subjugation of American sovereignty in favor of global governance, and the implementation of redistributive economic policies―both within the U.S. and across national borders. Toward these ends, Soros saw “the forthcoming elections” as “an excellent opportunity to deflate the bubble of American supremacy.”203 He would employ his wealth and his ideological fervor to capitalize on this opportunity, knowing that the best time to implement radical change is during times of upheaval and crisis―i.e., times like the aftermath of 9/11. “Usually it takes a crisis to prompt a meaningful change in direction,” Soros himself had written in his 2000 book Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism.204
Soros’s Previous Interventions
By no means was this the first time that Soros had aimed to engineer the fall of a government which he deemed oppressive. On several previous occasions, he had used his extraordinary wealth to bankroll popular movements seeking to undermine communist and authoritarian regimes in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Specifically, Soros had funded the training, organization and mobilization of many millions of demonstrators who took part in a series of bloodless political revolutions―commonly known as “velvet revolutions” or “color revolutions”205―that ultimately brought down governments in those regions. Typically, these mobilizations consisted of massive street rallies (sometimes with hundreds of thousands of participants) and carefully coordinated acts of civil disobedience such as sit-ins and general strikes. In several instances, such Soros-funded protesters challenged the results of popular elections and accused incumbent leaders of election fraud―charges which were then echoed by Soros-funded exit pollsters and Soros-funded media outlets, thereby greatly amplifying the effect of the accusations. A brief survey of Soros’s most noteworthy foreign interventions will be useful at this point.
Soros helped bankroll “Charter 77,” a 1976 document demanding that the Czech government recognize some basic human rights―most notably the freedom to express religious beliefs or political opinions without fear of retributive discrimination―that were already guaranteed by the nation’s constitution. This Charter and the political movement that grew from it ultimately culminated in the velvet revolution that brought down Czechoslovakia’s Communist regime in late 1989.206
Soros funding played a critical role in promoting other upheavals in the former Soviet bloc as well. “My foundations,” boasts Soros, “contributed to Democratic regime change in Slovakia in 1998, Croatia in 1999, and Yugoslavia in 2000, mobilizing civil society to get rid of Vladimir Meciar, Franjo Tudjman, and Slobodan Milosevic, respectively.”207
Meciar, for his part, was a hardline nationalist whose authoritarian government―characterized by demagoguery, corruption, and hostility toward the Hungarian minority―brought instability and isolation to Slovakia in the mid-1990s.208 Croatian president Tudjman was likewise an autocrat infamous for his brutality, extreme nationalism, indifference to civil rights, and manipulation of electoral processes.209 And Milosevic, who served as president of Serbia and Yugoslavia in the 1990s, was an infamous architect of military aggression, war crimes, and ethnic cleansing.210 British journalist Neil Clark reports that from 1991 to 2000, Soros and his Open Society Institute methodically laid the groundwork for the movement that ultimately led to Milosevic’s resignation, “channel[ing] more than $100m to the coffers of the anti-Milosevic opposition, funding political parties, publishing houses and ‘independent’ media…”211 In a 1996 speech, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman offered a profound insight into how Soros typically injected his influence into the political workings of a given nation by patiently and systematically infiltrating strategic organizations and governmental agencies:
“[Soros and his allies] have spread their tentacles throughout the whole of our society. Soros … had approval to … gather and distribute humanitarian aid.… However, we … allowed them to do almost whatever they wanted.… They have involved in their network … people of all ages and classes … trying to win them over by financial aid.… [Their aim is] control of all spheres of life … setting up a state within a state.…”212
Soros also funded Soviet Georgia’s “Rose Revolution,”213 a popular movement that forced Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze to resign in November 2003.214 According to Britain’s Globe and Mail, in February of that year Soros “began laying the brick work for the toppling” of Shevardnadze. “That month, funds from his Open Society Institute sent a … [Georgian] activist … to Serbia to meet with members of the [resistance] movement and learn how they used street demonstrations to topple dictator Slobodan Milosevic.”215 That summer, Soros brought some of those Serbian activists to Georgia to train student activists there. Meanwhile, a Soros-funded television station aired weekly broadcasts of the documentary Bringing Down a Dictator, which presented a step-by-step account of the overthrow of Milosevic and played a crucial role in training Georgian insurgents.216 In the autumn months, Soros spent some $42 million preparing the overthrow movement to mobilize. Then, in mid-November, large-scale anti-government demonstrations spread like wildfire in most of Georgia’s major cities. Shevardnadze, able to read the proverbial writing on the wall, resigned within a matter of days.217 Soros later told the Los Angeles Times, “I’m delighted by what happened in Georgia, and I take great pride in having contributed to it.”218 In November 2003, the editor of an English-language daily based in Georgia said, “It’s generally accepted public opinion here that Mr. Soros is the person who planned Shevardnadze’s overthrow.”219 Notably, some people who worked for Soros’ organizations―including two of the Open Society Georgia Foundation’s former executive directors―later assumed influential positions in the new Georgian government.220
Soros thereafter would go on to fund the “Orange Revolution,” a series of protests and political events that took place in Ukraine from late November 2004 to January 2005, ultimately forcing Moscow’s favored candidate, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, to lose a controversial and hotly contested presidential election.221 Also in early 2005, Soros helped finance the “Tulip Revolution”―a massive protest movement that led to the overthrow of President Askar Akayev and his government in the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan.222
New Target for “Regime Change”: America
But right now, in 2003-04, Soros’s primary focus was on the United States, whose government he considered to be at least as dangerous and oppressive as those of the aforementioned communist and authoritarian regimes. “I believe deeply in the values of an open society,” Soros said. “For the past 15 years I have focused my energies on fighting for these values abroad. Now I am doing it in the United States.”223 Asserting that he could “do a lot more about the issues I care about by changing the government than by pushing the issues,”224 Soros set out to “puncture the bubble of American supremacy.”225 To accomplish this, he would create a political apparatus of extraordinary influence.
Soros had quietly laid the groundwork for this apparatus during the preceding eight years. Between 1994 and 2002, the billionaire had spent millions of dollars promoting the passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act―better known as the McCain-Feingold Act226―which was signed into law in November 2002 by President Bush. Soros began working on this issue shortly after the 1994 midterm elections, when for the first time in nearly half a century, Republicans won strong majorities in both houses of Congress. Political analysts at the time attributed the huge Republican gains in large part to the effectiveness of television advertising―most notably the “Harry and Louise” series (which cost $14 million to produce and air) where a fictional suburban couple exposed the many hidden, and distasteful, details of Hillary Clinton’s proposals for a more socialized national health-care system. Indeed the 1994 election became, to a considerable degree, a referendum on this attempted government takeover of one-sixth of the U.S. economy―and on the Democratic President who had tacitly endorsed it. George Soros was angry that such advertisements were capable of overriding the influence of the major print and broadcast news media, which, because they were overwhelmingly sympathetic to Democrat agendas, had given Hillary’s plan a great deal of free, positive publicity for months. Three weeks after the 1994 elections, Soros announced that he intended to “do something” about “the distortion of our electoral process by the excessive use of TV advertising.”227 That “something” would be campaign-finance reform.
Starting in 1994, Soros’s Open Society Institute and a few other leftist foundations began bankrolling front groups and so-called “experts” whose aim was to persuade Congress to swallow the fiction that millions of Americans were clamoring for “campaign-finance reform.” This deceptive strategy was the brainchild of Sean Treglia, a former program officer with the Pew Charitable Trusts.228 Between 1994 and 2004, some $140 million of foundation cash was used to promote campaign-finance reform. Nearly 90 percent of this amount derived from just eight foundations, one of which was the Open Society Institute, which contributed $12.6 million to the cause.229 Among the major recipients of these OSI funds were such pro-reform organizations as Common Cause ($625,000); Public Campaign ($1.3 million); Democracy 21 ($300,000); the Alliance For Better Campaigns ($650,000); the Center For Public Integrity ($1.7 million); the Center For Responsive Politics ($75,000); Public Citizen ($275,000); and the Brennan Center for Justice (more than $3.3 million).230
The “research” which these groups produced in order to make a case on behalf of campaign-finance reform was largely bogus and contrived. For instance, Brennan Center political scientist Jonathan Krasno had clearly admitted in his February 19, 1999 grant proposal to the Pew Charitable Trusts that the purpose of the proposed study was political, not scholarly, and that the project would be axed if it failed to yield the desired results:
“The purpose of our acquiring the data set is not simply to advance knowledge for its own sake, but to fuel a continuous multi-faceted campaign to propel campaign reform forward. Whether we proceed to phase two will depend on the judgment of whether the data provide a sufficiently powerful boost to the reform movement.”
The stated purpose of McCain-Feingold was to purge politics of corruption by: (a) putting restrictions on paid advertising during the weeks just prior to political elections, and (b) tightly regulating the amount of money that political parties and candidates could accept from donors. Vis à vis the former of those two provisions, the new legislation barred private organizations―including unions, corporations, and citizen activist groups―from advertising for or against any candidate for federal office on television or radio during the 60 days preceding an election, and during the 30 days preceding a primary. During these blackout periods, only official political parties would be permitted to engage in “express advocacy” advertising―i.e., political ads that expressly urged voters to “vote for” or “vote against” a specified candidate. Equally important, major media networks were exempted from McCain-Feingold’s constraints; thus they were free to speak about candidates in any manner they wished during their regular programming and news broadcasts. This would inevitably be a positive development for Democrats, who enjoyed the near-universal support of America’s leading media outlets.231
In addition to its limits on pre-election political advertising, McCain-Feingold also placed onerous new restrictions on the types of donations which candidates, parties, and political action committees (PACs) could now accept. Previously, they had been permitted to take two types of contributions. One of these was “hard money,” which referred to funds earmarked for the purpose of express advocacy. Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations stipulated that in a single calendar year, no hard-money donor could give more than $1,000 to any particular candidate, no more than $5,000 to a PAC, and no more than $20,000 to any political party.232
The other category of pre-McCain-Feingold donations was “soft-money,” which donors were permitted to give directly to a political party in amounts unlimited by law. But to qualify for designation as “soft money,” a donation could not be used to fund “express advocacy” ads on behalf of any particular candidate. Rather, it had to be used to pay for such things as “voter-education” ads or “issue-oriented” ads―political messages that carefully refrained from making explicit calls to “vote for” or “vote against” any specific candidate. So long as an ad steered clear of uttering such forbidden instructions, there was no limit as to how much soft money could be spent on its production and dissemination.
McCain-Feingold raised the per-donor maximum for certain hard-money donations: A donor could now give up to $2,000 to a candidate, $5,000 to a PAC, and $25,000 to a political party.233 But the new law banned soft-money contributions to political parties altogether.
Historically, Republicans had enjoyed a 2-1 advantage over Democrats in raising hard money from individual donors. Democrats had relied much more heavily on soft money from large institutions such as labor unions.234 Thus it seems counter-intuitive that Soros, who clearly favored Democrats over Republicans, would seek to push legislation whose net effect―the removal of soft money―would be unfavorable to Democratic Party fundraising efforts.
But Soros’s motive becomes clear when we look at the types of organizations whose fundraising activities were left unaffected by McCain-Feingold. These were “527 committees”―nonprofits named after Section 527 of the IRS code―which, unlike ordinary PACS, were not required to register with the FEC. Run mostly by special-interest groups, these 527s were technically supposed to be independent of, and unaffiliated with, any party or candidate. As such, they were permitted to raise soft money―in amounts unbound by any legal limits―for all manner of political activities other than express advocacy. That is, so long as a 527′s soft money was not being used to pay for ads explicitly urging people to cast their ballots either for or against any particular candidate, the letter of the McCain-Feingold law technically was being followed. Practically speaking, of course, such things as “issue-oriented ads” and “voter-education” ads can easily be tailored to favor one party or candidate over another, while carefully steering clear of “express advocacy.”
Once McCain-Feingold was in place, Soros and his political allies collaborated to set up a network of “527 committees” ready to receive the soft money that individual donors and big labor unions normally would have given directly to the Democratic Party. These 527s could then use that money to fund issue-oriented ads, voter-education initiatives, get-out-the-vote drives, and other “party-building” activities―not only to help elect Democratic candidates in 2004, but more broadly to guide the Democratic Party ever-further leftward and to reject the “closed” society that Bush and the Republicans presumably favored. By helping to push McCain-Feingold through Congress, Soros had effectively cut off the Democrats’ soft-money supply and diverted it to the coffers of an alternative network of beneficiaries―which he personally controlled.235 As Byron York observed, “[T]he new campaign finance rules had actually increased the influence of big money in politics. By giving directly to ‘independent’ groups rather than to the party itself, big-ticket donors could influence campaign strategy and tactics more directly than they ever had previously…. And the power was concentrated in very few hands”―most notably Soros’s.236
Soros’s “Shadow Party” Takes Shape
While Soros’s 527s were clearly devoted to Democratic Party agendas and values, they publicly professed to be independent of any party affiliations. Their partisanship was somewhat shrouded in proverbial shadows. Gradually, a number of journalists began to make reference to the emergence of certain pro-Democrat “shadow organizations” that seemed geared toward circumventing McCain-Feingold’s soft-money ban. In time, the term “Shadow Party” came into use.237
George Soros set in motion the wheels of this Shadow Party when he gathered a team of political strategists, activists, and Democrat donors at his Long Island beach house on July 17, 2003, to discuss how President Bush could be defeated in the 2004 election. Attendees included such luminaries as OSI director Morton Halperin; former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta; former Clinton speechwriters Jeremy Rosner and Robert Boorstin; Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope; labor leader and former Clinton advisor Steve Rosenthal; EMILY’s List founder and abortion-rights activist Ellen Malcolm; and major Democrat donors such as Lewis and Dorothy Cullman, Robert McKay, Robert Glaser, and Peter Lewis.238
The consensus was that voter turnout―particularly in 17 “swing” or “battleground” states239―would be the key to unseating President Bush. Steve Rosenthal and Ellen Malcolm―CEO and president, respectively, of a newly formed but poorly funded voter-registration group called America Coming Together (ACT)240―suggested that voters in those swing states should be recruited and mobilized as soon as possible. Agreeing, Soros told the pair that he personally would give ACT $10 million to help maximize its effectiveness. A few other attendees also pledged to give the fledgling group large sums of money: Soros’s billionaire friend Peter Lewis, chairman of the Progressive Corporation, promised to give $10 million; Robert Glaser, founder and CEO of RealNetworks, promised $2 million; Rob McKay, president of the McKay Family Foundation, committed $1 million; and benefactors Lewis and Dorothy Cullman pledged $500,000.241
By early 2004, the administrative core of George Soros’s Shadow Party was in place. It consisted of seven ostensibly “independent” nonprofit groups―all but one of which were headquartered in Washington, DC. In a number of cases, these groups shared one another’s finances, directors, and corporate officers; occasionally they even shared office space.242 The seven groups were:
1) America Coming Together (ACT): Jump-started by Soros’s $10 million grant, ACT in 2004 ran what it called “the largest voter-contact program in history,” with more than 1,400 full-time paid canvassers contacting potential voters door-to-door and by phone.243
2) Center For American Progress (CAP): This entity was established to serve as a think tank promoting leftist ideas and policy initiatives. Soros, enthusiastic about the Center’s potential, pledged in July 2003 to donate up to $3 million to help get the project off the ground.244 From the outset, CAP’s leadership featured a host of former high-ranking officials from the Clinton administration.245 Hillary Clinton predicted that the organization would provide “some new intellectual capital” with which to “build the 21st-century policies that reflect the Democrat Party’s values.”246 George Soros and Morton Halperin together selected former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta to serve as president of CAP. Podesta said his goal was to develop CAP as a “think tank on steroids,” featuring “a message-oriented war room” that “will send out a daily briefing to refute the positions and arguments of the right.”247
3) America Votes: This national coalition coordinated the efforts of many get-out-the-vote organizations and their thousands of contributing activists.248 Soros’s support for America Votes would continue well past 2004. Indeed he would donate $2.15 million to this coalition in the 2006 election cycle,249 another $1.25 million in advance of the 2008 elections,250 and yet another $1.25 million in 2010.251
4) Media Fund: Describing itself as “the largest media-buying organization supporting a progressive message” in the United States, this group produced and strategically placed political ads in the print, broadcast, and electronic media.252
5) Joint Victory Campaign 2004 (JVC): This fundraising entity focused on collecting contributions and then disbursing them chiefly to America Coming Together and the Media Fund. In 2004 alone, JVC channeled $19.4 million to the former, and $38.4 million to the latter.253 Soros personally gave JVC more than $12 million that year.254
6) Thunder Road Group (TRG): This political consultancy coordinated strategy for the Media Fund, America Coming Together, and America Votes. Its duties included strategic planning, polling, opposition research, covert operations, and public relations.255
7) MoveOn.org: This California-based entity was the only one of the Shadow Party’s core groups that was not a new startup operation. Launched in September 1998, MoveOn is a Web-based political network that organizes online activists around specific issues, raises money for Democratic candidates, generates political ads, and is very effective at recruiting young people to support Democrats.256 In November 2003, Soros pledged to give MoveOn $5 million to help its cause.257
According to Ellen Malcolm of America Coming Together (ACT), the financial commitment which Soros made to these Shadow Party groups in 2003 “was a signal to potential donors that he had looked at what was going on and that this was pretty exciting, and that he was going to stand behind it, and it was the real deal.”258 As Byron York observed, “After Soros signed on, contributions started pouring in.” ACT and the Media Fund alone took in some $200 million―including $20 million from Soros alone. This type of money was unprecedented in American politics.259
Harold Ickes, who served as White House deputy chief of staff in the Clinton White House, had a hand in creating every Shadow Party core group except MoveOn. He was also entrusted with the vital task of making these organizations function as a cohesive entity. In 2004, Democratic strategist Harold Wolfson suggested that outside of the official campaign of presidential candidate John Kerry, Ickes “is the most important person in the Democratic Party today.”260
In addition to its seven core members, the Shadow Party also came to include at least another 30 well-established leftwing activist groups and labor unions that participated in the America Votes coalition. Among the better-known of these were ACORN; the AFL-CIO; the AFSCME; the American Federation of Teachers; the Association of Trial Lawyers of America; the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund; EMILY’s List; the Human Rights Campaign; the League of Conservation Voters; the NAACP; NARAL Pro-Choice America; the National Education Association; People for the American Way; Planned Parenthood; the Service Employees International Union; and the Sierra Club.261
New Mexico’s then-governor, Democrat Bill Richardson, observed that “these groups” were “crucial” to the anti-Bush effort. “Now that campaign-finance reform is law,” he said, “organizations like these have become the replacement for the national Democratic Party.”262 And no donor was more heavily invested in these organizations―or in defeating President Bush―than George Soros, who contributed $27,080,105 to pro-Democrat 527s during the 2004 election cycle. The second leading donor was the billionaire insurance entrepreneur Peter Lewis ($23,997,220), followed by Hollywood producer Stephen Bing ($13,952,682) and Golden West Financial Corporation founders Herbert and Marion Sandler ($13,007,959).263
Failure and Resiliency: Birth of The Democracy Alliance
When President Bush won re-election in 2004, George Soros was devastated; his massive financial investments and herculean organizing efforts had all gone for naught. Adding insult to injury, the hated Republicans had retained control of both houses of Congress. As Soros contemplated what course of action he ought to pursue next, the answer came to him―somewhat unexpectedly―in the form of Democrat political operative Rob Stein, former chief of staff to Commerce Secretary Ron Brown during the Clinton administration. For the preceding two years, Stein had been busy devising a strategy by which Democrats might reclaim supremacy in the executive and legislative branches of government. He began working on this strategy shortly after the Republicans had gained eight House seats and two Senate seats in the 2002 midterm elections. Lamenting that he was “living in a one-party [Republican] country,”264 Stein at that point resolved to study the conservative movement and determine why it was winning the political battle. After a year of analysis, he concluded that a few influential, wealthy family foundations―most notably Scaife, Bradley, Olin, and Coors―had spearheaded the creation of a $300 million network of politically influential organizations. Stein featured these facts in a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation―titled “The Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix”―which mapped out, in painstaking detail, the conservative movement’s networking strategies and funding sources.265
Next, Stein set out to show his presentation―mostly in private meetings―to political leaders, activists, and prospective big-money donors of the left. He hoped to inspire them to join his crusade to build a new organization―a financial clearinghouse to be called the Democracy Alliance (DA)―dedicated to offsetting the efforts of conservative funders and injecting new life into the progressive movement. At each presentation, Stein asked the viewer to pledge that he or she would keep confidential the substance of the proceedings, so as to give the project a chance to coalesce and gain some momentum without excessive public scrutiny.266
Stein officially filed DA’s corporate registration in the District of Columbia in January 2005.267 By that point, he had shown his PowerPoint presentation to several hundred people.268 Stein recalls that during those sessions, he consistently observed “an unbelievable frustration” by big Democrat donors who felt hopelessly unconnected to one another even as they longed to be part of a strategic coalition that could work collaboratively and cohesively.269 This was particularly true of George Soros, thus it was most significant that Soros quickly and enthusiastically embraced Stein’s concept. In April 2005, Soros brought together 70 likeminded, carefully vetted, fellow millionaires and billionaires in Phoenix, Arizona, to discuss Stein’s ideas and expeditiously implement a plan of action.270 Most of those in attendance agreed that the conservative movement represented “a fundamental threat to the American way of life.”271 And, like Soros, a considerable number of them looked favorably on Stein’s analysis and concept. Thus was born the Democracy Alliance.
DA members, called “partners,” include individuals and organizations alike. Partnership in the Alliance is by invitation-only.272 These partners pay an initial $25,000 fee, and $30,000 in yearly dues thereafter. They also must give at least $200,000 annually to groups which the Alliance endorses. Donors metaphorically “pour” these requisite donations into one or more of what Rob Stein refers to as DA’s “four buckets” of fundraising: ideas, media, leadership training, and civic engagement. The money is then apportioned to approved left-wing groups from each respective category.273
The Democracy Alliance is known to consist of at least 100 donor-partners but historically has been quite secretive regarding their identities. Nevertheless, the Capital Research Center has managed to compile the names of some of the more significant current and former DA partners (in addition to George Soros and Rob Stein).274 A large percentage of them have significant ties to Soros that extend well beyond their shared membership in the Democracy Alliance. Among these partners are the following:
- AFL-CIO: This institutional DA partner is the largest labor federation in America and was a member of Soros’s Shadow Party in 2004.
- Bauman Foundation co-director Patricia Bauman serves as a board member of the Soros-funded Natural Resources Defense Council.
- Property-development CEO Albert Dwoskin is the chairman of Catalist, a Soros-funded political consultancy.275
- Manhattan-based child psychologist Gail Furman belongs to the Council on Foreign Relations and is a board member of Human Rights First and the Brennan Center for Justice―all organizations that receive funding from George Soros and OSI.276
- Software entrepreneur Tim Gill is a major funder of gay-rights groups such as the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, which is also supported by Soros.277
- Technology entrepreneur Davidi Gilo has given at least $17,600 to J Street, an organization that is consistently critical of Israel and has close ties to Soros.278
- Media-software mogul Rob Glaser was an early backer of the Soros-funded America Coming Together.279
- “Racial justice organizer” Connie Cagampang Heller works closely with the Soros-funded Tides Foundation.280
- Hyatt Hotel luminary Rachel Pritzker Hunter has served as treasurer of the Soros-funded Media Matters For America.281
- Economist and former banking executive Rob Johnson once served as a portfolio manager for George Soros’s Quantum Fund.282
- Michael Kieschnick founded Working Assets, a long-distance telephone/credit card company that donates a percentage of its profits to leftist groups and causes.283 He is also a board member of the Soros-funded evangelical group Sojourners.284
- Longtime technology executive John Luongo is a former board member of Planned Parenthood and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington―both Soros-funded enterprises.285
- Atlantic Philanthropies president and CEO Gara LaMarche was formerly vice president of Soros’s Open Society Institute. He also served a stint as associate director of Human Rights Watch and held a variety of positions with the ACLU―both organizations that are heavily funded by Soros.286
- Television producer Norman Lear created the Soros-backed group, People for the American Way.
- Progressive Insurance Company chairman Peter Lewis has many close ties to Soros and was a major funder of the Shadow Party during the 2004 election cycle.287
- Taco Bell heir Robert McKay has been a founding board member of America Coming Together, a board member of the Ms. Foundation for Women, and a director of the Fund for America288―all of which are beneficiaries of Soros money.
- Tides Foundation founder and longtime CEO Drummond Pike has close ties to Soros, who is a major funder of Tides.
- Democrat activist Simon Rosenberg founded the New Policy Institute, a project of the Tides Foundation. He also sits on the board of the Soros-funded publication Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. And in 1996 he created the New Democrat Network, a Soros-financed organization committed to pushing the Democratic Party further leftward.289
- Golden West Financial Corporation founders Herb and Marion Sandler are philanthropic allies of George Soros and were heavy funders of Shadow Party organizations in 2004―giving some $13 million to anti-Bush “527 committees.”290
- Trial lawyer Guy Saperstein formerly served as president of the Soros-funded Sierra Club.291
- Service Employees International Union: The longtime former president of this union, Andrew Stern, sat on the executive committee of the Soros-funded America Coming Together.292
- George Soros’s son Jonathan is president and co-deputy chairman of Soros Fund Management.
- DA board member Michael Vachon is the director of communications at Soros Fund Management and the overseer of Soros’s political contributions.293
No grants were pledged at the Democracy Alliance’s April 2005 gathering in Phoenix, but at an Atlanta meeting three months later, DA partners pledged $39 million―about a third of which came directly from George Soros and Peter Lewis.294 Because the Alliance has largely refrained from providing information about its giving, only a small percentage of its donees are known to the public.295 Thus it is impossible to determine precisely how much money DA has disbursed since its inception. Most estimates, though, place the figure at more than $100 million.296 One source―Alliance member Simon Rosenberg―claimed in August 2008 that DA had already “channeled hundreds of millions of dollars into progressive organizations.”297 Below are the names of a number of DA’s known donees298―and in certain cases the sums they have received from the Alliance. Again, the Capital Research Center was instrumental in identifying these donees, many of whom have financial and ideological ties to Soros and the Open Society Institute that long predate their connections to the Democracy Alliance.299
- ACORN: DA founder Rob Stein has called this pro-socialist, notoriously corrupt “community organization” a “tough-minded” and “very responsible” group.300
- Air America Radio: When this left-leaning radio station was on the verge of bankruptcy in early 2006, it received a funding commitment of $8 million from DA.301
- America Votes: This voter-mobilization coalition has received at least $6 million in DA-approved funding commitments from George Soros.
- Center for American Progress: By January 2008, DA grants to this leftist think tank totaled at least $9 million―most of which came from George Soros, Peter Lewis, and the Sandlers.
- Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington: This Soros-funded group brings ethics charges against (mostly conservative) “government officials who … betray the public trust.”302
- Election Administration Fund: Housed at the Tides Foundation in San Francisco, this entity has received at least $2.5 million in DA money for its voter-registration and get-out-the-vote efforts―plus some $1 million from Soros’s Open Society Institute.
- EMILY’s List: This group raises money for Democratic, pro-choice, female candidates.303
- Media Matters For America: By January 2008, DA-approve grants to Media Matters totaled at least $7 million.
- Mi Familia Vota: This group seeks to naturalize new citizens and register them to vote.304
- New Organizing Fund: This group, which “train[s] prospective progressive campaign workers in online campaign and organizing techniques,” has accepted donations directly from DA members George Soros and Deborah Rappaport.305
- Progressive Majority: Working to help “promising progressive candidates” get elected to state and political offices, this group has received at least $5 million in DA grants.306
- United States Student Association: This group is “dedicated to training, organizing, and developing a base of student leaders” who will become “social justice” activists.307
- USAction: This group favors increased government spending on social-welfare programs and public education.308
Additional DA grant recipients include such previously cited Soros donees as Catalist, the Center for Community Change, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, the New Democrat Network, People for the American Way, and the Progressive States Network.309
Since approximately 2006, Democracy Alliance members and staff have been working to establish subchapters of their organization in all 50 states. Their most successful effort to date has been in Colorado, where the local DA has funded such varied enterprises as liberal think tanks, media “watchdog” groups, ethics groups that bring forth so-called public-interest litigation, voter-mobilization groups, media outlets that attack conservatives, and liberal leadership-training centers. The results have been striking: Whereas in 1998 Colorado had a Republican governor, two Republican U.S. senators, and four Republican House members (out of six), by 2009 the state had a Democratic governor, two Democratic U.S. Senators, and five Democratic House members (out of seven).310
Radicalizing America, One State at a Time: “PLAN” and the Secretary of State Project
In August 2005, when the Democracy Alliance was just getting off the ground, George Soros’s Open Society Institute helped establish yet another new organization―the Progressive Legislative Action Network, or PLAN. Furnishing state legislatures with prewritten “model” legislation reflecting leftist agendas, this group was part and parcel of Soros’s methodical campaign to shift American politics and public attitudes toward the left―by gaining a foothold inside the corridors of power on a state-by-state basis.311
Then, in July 2006, Democracy Alliance partner Michael Kieschnick collaborated with Becky Bond (who also had affiliations with Working Assets and the New Organizing Institute) and James Rucker (who co-founded Color of Change and formerly served as director of grassroots mobilization for MoveOn.org Political Action and Moveon.org Civic Action) to launch a major new initiative called the Secretary of State Project (SoSP). This “527 committee” was devoted to helping Democrats win secretary-of-state elections in crucial “swing” states―i.e., states where the margin of victory in the 2004 presidential election had been 120,000 votes or less.312 One of the principal duties of the secretary of state is to serve as the chief election officer who certifies candidates as well as election results in his or her state.313 The holder of this office, then, can potentially play a key role in determining the winner of a close election. Numerous Democracy Alliance partners became funders of SoSP. Soros was one of them. In 2008, for instance, he personally gave $10,000 to the Project.314
Soros Helps Create Two New Pro-Democrat Groups
Just two months after the Democratic Party had won control of both houses of Congress in the November 2006 elections, George Soros and then-SEIU president Andrew Stern created Working For Us (WFU), a pro-Democrat PAC. This group does not, however, look favorably upon Democratic centrists. Rather, it aims “to elect lawmakers who support a progressive political agenda.” Originally proposed by Stern as a way to prevent moderate Democrats from gaining too much influence over the party, WFU publishes the names of what it calls the “Top Offenders” among congressional Democrats who fail to support such leftist priorities as “living wage” legislation, the proliferation of public-sector labor unions, and the provision of government-funded healthcare for all Americans. Targeting congressional Democrats whose “voting records are more conservative than their districts,” WFU warns that “no bad vote will be overlooked or unpunished.”315
In an effort to promote large-scale income redistribution by means of tax hikes for higher earners, WFU advocates policies that would narrow the economic gulf between the rich and poor. The group’s executive director is Steven Rosenthal, a longtime Democrat operative with close ties to the Clinton administration and a co-founder of Soros’s America Coming Together. According to Rosenthal, WFU “will encourage Democrats to act like Democrats―and if they don’t―they better get out of the way.”316
In November 2007, Soros joined fellow Democracy Alliance members Rob McKay and Anna Burger, as well as John Podesta of the Center for American Progress, to help form the Fund for America (FFA), a “527 committee” designed to work on what Roll Call characterized as “media buys and voter outreach in the run-up to the 2008 elections.” The leading early donors to FFA were Soros ($3.5 million), the SEIU ($2.5 million), Hollywood producer Stephen Bing ($2.5 million), and hedge fund executive Donald Sussman ($1 million). But when FFA failed to meet its overall fundraising goals by early 2008, DA donors cut off their contributions and the group was disbanded in June. Among the organizations it had bankrolled before shutting its doors were America Votes, Americans United for Change, ACORN, and the Center for American Progress Action Fund.317
Meanwhile, Soros’s regard for President Bush remained as low as ever. “Indeed,” wrote Soros in 2006, “the Bush administration has been able to improve on the techniques used by the Nazi and Communist propaganda machines by drawing on the innovations of the advertising and marketing industries.”318 Soros would elaborate on this theme at the January 2007 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he told reporters: “America needs to … go through a certain de-Nazification process.”319
Soros and Obama: The Quiet Partnership
While George Soros was busy bankrolling his battalion of established activist groups and launching a few new ones of his own, he quite naturally looked toward the upcoming presidential election of 2008 with great anticipation, eagerly awaiting the day when George W. Bush would finally leave office. The question was, who would replace him? In recent years, all indications had been that Soros favored Hillary Clinton above most, if not all, other potential Democratic candidates for President. But now there was a new face on the scene―a young, charismatic U.S. senator from Illinois named Barack Obama―who seemed not only to share virtually all of Soros’s values and agendas, but also appeared to be a highly skilled politician who stood a good chance of getting elected to the nation’s highest office.
In December of 2006, Soros, who had previously hosted a fundraiser for Obama during the latter’s 2004 Senate campaign, met with Obama in Soros’s New York office. Just a few weeks later―on January 16, 2007―Obama announced that he would form a presidential exploratory committee and was contemplating a run for the White House. Within hours, Soros sent the senator a contribution of $2,100, the maximum amount allowable under campaign-finance laws. Later that week, the New York Daily News reported that Soros would support Obama rather than Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, though Soros pledged to back the New York senator were she to emerge as the nominee.320 But it was clear that Soros considered Obama to be the more electable candidate of the two. Most importantly, Obama’s economic and political prescriptions for America were wholly accordant with those of Soros.
For an in-depth look at the shared agendas of Soros and Obama, click here.
Soros Continues to Pursue His Agendas:
In January 2009, Anatole Kaletsky―a Times of London economics writer who opposed the “noninterventionist model of capitalism” and favored deficit spending and “stimulus packages” as bulwarks against economic depression―discussed with George Soros “the unique opportunity to reshape economics in the wake of the financial crisis.” Eight months later, Soros assembled 25 economists, financiers, and journalists in Bedford, New York to brainstorm the idea. This “Bedford Summit” resulted in a “unanimous agreement that our economic paradigm must change,” and a “recognition of the importance of empowering the young generation of economists to rethink” the field of economics. Toward that end, the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) was created as a nonprofit foundation in October 2009; its initial funding came from a $50 million pledge by Soros’s Open Society Institute.