Billionaire financier George Soros is launching a super PAC ahead of the 2020 election and, at $5.1 million, he has already made the single biggest contribution so far this election cycle compared to any other megadonor.
Soros contributed $5.1 million to the new group, Democracy PAC, according to Paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Super PACs, which are officially known as “independent-expenditure only committees,” are not allowed to make contributions to specific parties or candidates. They may, however, support initiatives independently of campaigns and do so by engaging in unlimited political spending.
According to Politico, Soros was one of the Democratic Party’s biggest donors in the last presidential election, with the party’s candidates and causes receiving Soros-sourced financial support to the tune of over $20 million. Compared to the corresponding phase in the 2016 election season, Soros has in the 2020 cycle already doubled his donation amount.
A person familiar with Democracy PAC told Politico that Soros’s family members may also support the initiative with their cash. Soros’s son, Alexander Soros, has in recent years increasingly taken on the role of a Democratic megadonor.
The Hill reported that Soros does not plan to use Democracy PAC to set up an independent political group but instead intends to funnel funds to other organizations.
“He has, unlike Tom Steyer or [Michael] Bloomberg, funded things like Senate Majority PAC and Priorities USA and EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood and expects to continue to do so,” a person familiar with Democracy PAC told Politico.
Soros has not yet endorsed a candidate for president in 2020.
‘National Impact By and In 2020’
Soros helped fund Democratic efforts to flip Georgia, Arizona, and Florida in the recent midterm elections, and event noted that the strategy of flipping Republican “red states” to Democrat blue is laid out in his Open Society Foundations documents.
According to a white paper called “U.S. Programs 2015–2018 Strategy,” the progressive organization began funding activist operations in Arizona and Georgia in 2015, with the ultimate goal being to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
“Beginning in 2015 with initial investments, U.S. Programs anticipates seeking to have national impact by and in 2020, through targeted work in a small number of states. States such as Arizona, Georgia, or North Carolina, are quickly changing demographically and rising in political significance,” the document states.
Known as the 2020 Project, Open Society’s funding efforts have been aimed at “building the capacity of community-based organizations to catalyze political engagement throughout the year and not solely around elections,” and they feature coordination “with our anchor and core grantees, Democracy Alliance partners and other donors, and field leaders, such as Planned Parenthood, progressive labor, and other allies.”
Zuckerberg, Soros, and Bloomberg Spent Millions on Ballot Initiatives
According to earlier reports, Soros, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg were three of the dozens of billionaires who dropped millions of dollars into campaigns for ballot initiatives ahead of the last year’s midterm elections.
An analysis of state records by the Center of Public Integrity revealed just how much some elite political players want certain initiatives to pass.
The group found that several weeks before the midterm election, 25 American billionaires had invested more than $70.7 million in campaigns for initiatives in states where they don’t actually reside.
The billionaires have backed a number of different campaigns.
“We think setting criminal justice policy by constitutional amendment is a terrible idea, and I think what makes it even worse is that it’s not being proposed by Ohioans,” Louis Tobin, the executive director of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, told the Atlantic, which co-reported the story with the Center of Public Integrity and Business Insider. “It’s being driven by money from out of state.”
“We’re going to have to live with the unintended consequences of this,” he added.
In Arizona, a ballot measure would require utilities to get 50 percent of their power solely from wind and solar sources by 2030. Its backers include Tom Steyer, a billionaire who lives in California.
“We believe strongly that a California billionaire coming into Arizona and spending $10 [million] to $20 million to cram this thing down our throats is problematic,” said Matthew Benson, an opponent of the measure.
Others, though, have said that it’s not unusual for ballot campaigns to have high-level backing.
“The fact is that you need a lot of money to even get one of these campaigns off the ground,” said Josh Altic, ballot measures project director for Ballotpedia, adding that the average cost for a campaign to get on the ballot in 2016 was more than $1 million.
“It’s not very unusual to have really rich individuals or financially influential corporations giving a lot of money.”