As we outlined in the previous article about George Soros and his war on law enforcement, the Hungarian billionaire has begun implementing a new tactic to promote his far left view of “criminal justice reform” by injecting big money into local and state races for positions like District Attorney. This list of links and resources gives you some specifics on how Soros is changing the face of law enforcement in this country.
November 4, 2016
The spending is part of the billionaire’s nationwide push on criminal justice and immigration reform.
George Soros has contributed $2 million to a group working to defeat Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona, the latest target of Soros’ big spending in local law enforcement campaigns over the past year.
The Soros-funded PAC, Maricopa Strong, will file campaign finance documents Friday showing Soros’ multimillion dollar investment against Arpaio, along with $500,000 from Texas energy billionaires Laura and John Arnold and $250,000 from Laurene Powell Jobs (widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs). The group had previously reported a $300,000 donation from Soros, one of the Democratic Party’s biggest donors.
November 7, 2016
Michael Vachon, a Soros adviser who serves as his spokesman, said Soros contributed to candidates in these local law enforcement races because of his longtime interest in ending mass incarceration, combatting racial disparities within the criminal justice system and abolishing the death penalty. Soros believes that society benefits when the criminal justice system is fair.
Vachon said Soros opposes Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigration enforcement efforts and harsh jail policies, including his practice of incarcerating inmates in surplus military tents. He believes the Maricopa County sheriff is the “poster child” for abusive practices.
A political group funded largely by Soros has run TV ads that criticized Arpaio for botching hundreds of sex-crime cases after they were reported to the sheriff’s office. The group also supports Paul Penzone, the sheriff’s Democratic challenger.
Chad Willems, Arpaio’s campaign manager, said Soros was trying to buy the sheriff’s race in Phoenix. He said the reasons Soros wants changes in the sheriff’s office “don’t match with what they are putting on TV.”
Another Soros-funded group has been running ads attacking Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, whose campaign against little-known Democrat Diego Rodriguez was regarded as sleeper race until the billionaire put $1.3 million into the race against the incumbent.
November 10, 2016
Gorge Soros saw his favored presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lose at the national level. But the leftwing billionaire vilified in Donald Trump ads met with success in at least one race, succeeding in his effort to remove from office Joe Arpaio, the anti-immigrant sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County.
“We congratulate Paul Penzone and everyone who contributed to his important victory tonight,” wrote Whitney Tymas, the chair of the Soros-funded group Maricopa Strong, in a statement to the press after Arpaio’s Democratic rival Penzone was pronounced the winner. “In this race, when matched on a more even playing field, the values of justice and inclusion defeated the politics of fear-mongering and intolerance. Maricopa County will be a safer, fairer, more just jurisdiction with Paul Penzone as sheriff.”
It was a blowout for Penzone, who topped Arpaio by almost 10 points, with around 55 percent of the vote.
January 19, 2017
Another Soros-funded group spent $1.8 million opposing the re-election campaign of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, a Republican.
Montgomery, who defeated Democratic challenger Diego Rodriguez by 5 percentage points, spent $357,000.
Rodriguez’s final campaign report hasn’t yet been made public.
His previous report showed that he had spent $17,000.
October 11, 2016
A political action committee linked to liberal financier George Soros is injecting at least $179,000 toward targeting the defeat of Jefferson and Gilpin County District Attorney Pete Weir, part of a national effort by the Democratic donor to reshape the American justice system.
The PAC, Colorado Safety & Justice, has bought nearly $60,000 in ads that are blanketing Denver metro radio stations in opposition to the Republican incumbent, who faces a challenge from Democrat Jake Lilly. It has also spent more than $80,000 on direct-mail advertising to defeat Weir and another $39,000 on polling and research, according to state campaign expenditure reports. One mailer states, “Women and children aren’t safe from sexual violence with Pete Weir as district attorney.”
January 24, 2017
From Soros’ perspective, the effort would probably be deemed a success, as 10 of the 12 candidates he backed won their races.
Yet one of the races that eluded Soros as a “win” was the district attorney’s race in Jefferson County, Colo., often considered one of the most important swing counties in the purple state.
If you buy into the maxim that you learn more from defeat than victory, then the Colorado race provides valuable insight: How does a candidate beat back a surprise attack from George Soros? And how is Soros likely to improve upon his strategy that has had one trial run?
For Pete Weir, the incumbent district attorney and lifelong Republican who outlasted the $1.3 million aimed against him, a long and bipartisan track record in criminal justice certainly helped. But the race likely became a referendum on Soros and his tactics the minute the billionaire cut the first check to his independent expenditure committee.
Colorado political analyst Eric Sondermann says once the donations to Weir’s challenger became known, “the magnitude of Soros’ engagement was exposed and became an issue, perhaps the issue, in the contest.”
September 9, 2016
During a routine review of campaign finance reports, one of our colleagues stumbled across a new political action committee called Georgia Safety & Justice. The PAC’s reports show that it’s sole cash contribution came from Soros in the amount of $100,000 and that is has spent $91,000 as of Aug. 31 on polling, research and consulting all to benefit Darius Patillo.
Who is Patillo? He is the Democratic candidate for district attorney in Henry County.
Patillo is currently a deputy chief assistant DA in DeKalb and ran for the Henry County post in 2012. He faces Republican Matthew McCord, a municipal judge and county attorney. According to the Henry Herald, Patillo is running on a platform that includes criminal justice reform in the way of pre-trial diversion programs and community outreach.
September 19, 2016
Two months before polls open, the race for Henry County district attorney appears to be over after progressive activist George Soros spent $100,000 to support his pick in the race, Democrat Darius Pattillo, who’s being called the first black DA in the county.
“This race has taken a turn of events that I could not have predicted,” said Pattillo.
Republican Matthew McCord has dropped out. In an emailed statement, McCord said he doesn’t think he has a shot against Soros’s cash, and he’s worried about personal attacks on himself and his family.
During the 2016 Democratic primaries in Illinois, Soros contributed $333,000 to the Illinois Safety and Justice PAC supporting Cook County district attorney candidate Kim Foxx (D) against incumbent Anita Alvarez.47 Foxx won the primary and faced off against Republican Christopher Pfannkuche in November 2016. Foxx, according to Chicago’s PBS station, WTTW, was continuing to receive support from Soros.
March 20, 2016
In the highly contentious Cook County State’s Attorney race, each candidate has their funding bases. Incumbent Anita Alvarez has Chicago’s “old-boy power support” behind her, according to the Better Government Association—City Council’s most powerful alderman, Ed Burke; Illinois’s last true political boss, Michael Madigan; various associates of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. (She’s also accepted over $25,000 from at least 60 of her employees.) Donna More is largely self-funding her campaign, as well as tapping into the Republican donor network. And Kim Foxx is working her political patron Toni Preckwinkle’s connections; many of the largest donations to her campaign fund are from unions.
But Kim Foxx has also found two other sources of cash, in the form of twin $300,000 donations to a Super PAC supporting her called Illinois Safety & Justice. The sole donors to the PAC are neoliberal superdonor and conservative-boogeyman George Soros and a “dark-money” group called Civic Participation Action Fund. A Super PAC is a fundraising group, created by the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United decision, that can raise as much money as they want for any candidate or cause—as long as they don’t coordinate on any level with political campaigns, which have much smaller campaign limits.
Soros is a notorious liberal donor—he dropped $20 million on the 2004 election, and recently donated $8 million to a leading pro-Hillary Super PAC, as well as put up $5 million to increase Latino voter turnout. But according to Illinois Sunshine, a database of State Election Board filings maintained by the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, this marks the first time Soros has entered into a political race in Illinois—ever. (Though he has been intervening in local District/State’s Attorney’s races with increasing regularity, donating over $400,000 in a Caddo Parish, Louisiana, nearly the same amount in Mississippi last year alone.)
Soros’s presence in this race “really speaks to fact that Super PACs have become very influential in Illinois races, especially this cycle,” according to Sarah Brune, the executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. A request for comment to Soros’s Open Society Foundations went unreturned by press time.
October 13, 2015
Billionaire George Soros has injected $256,000 into a Louisiana political race through a Super PAC based in Bossier City.
The Super PAC, Louisiana Safety & Justice PAC, has produced an ad benefiting James E. Stewart, a Democratic candidate and former judge in a six-way race for district attorney in Caddo Parish in north Louisiana. Soros has historically supported Democratic candidates and liberal causes.
The amount Soros donated to the Super PAC dwarfs the nearly $119,000 Stewart raised during the last campaign finance reporting period. It represents a huge amount of money poured into a race that has no statewide impact.
But the election of a black district attorney with judicial experience who would oversee criminal prosecutions in a parish known as the nation’s leader in death penalty sentences would be seen as a major shakeup. Caddo Parish has been dogged by questions about whether the death penalty has been unfairly applied to black defendants.
The race to replace the late Caddo District Attorney Charles Scott has become one of the most high-profile races in north Louisiana after Caddo Parish was the subject of a New Yorker article in July and a 60 Minutes report on Sunday (Oct. 11). Both pieces called attention to the high number of death penalty cases there and how capital punishment has been applied to minorities.
November 21, 2015
It was historic night in Caddo Parish Saturday as James E. Stewart Sr. became the first black district attorney in Caddo Parish.
Stewart beat prosecutor Dhu Thompson to succeed the late Charles Rex Scott as DA.
According to complete but unofficial election results, Stewart, a democrat, received 55 percent of votes cast in Saturday’s general election which also doubled as a special election for the district’s attorney’s office.
October 12, 2015
Robert Shuler Smith should change his name to Robert Shuler Soros. George Soros threw $382,000 into a PAC that spent $56,433 to support the Hinds County District Attorney in the August 4 primary. George Soros is the sole donor for the Mississippi Safety & Justice PAC. The PAC spent $147,254 in only two races and has $177,388 cash on hand.
November 6, 2015
Columbus attorney Scott Colom ousted longtime District Attorney Forrest Allgood in Tuesday’s election, but Colom said his win was because of his message, not the money liberal billionaire George Soros provided for his campaign.
“It doesn’t matter how much money I had; it was the message,” Colom said….
June 22, 2016
Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith is accused in a six-count affidavit of providing information to assist criminal defendants.
He was arrested Wednesday.
July 24, 2016
St. Louis circuit attorney candidate defends accepting super PAC campaign money from liberal billionaire
Kimberly Gardner, one of four Democrats running for St. Louis circuit attorney in the Aug. 2 primary, is taking heat for a new political ad paid for with money from a national super PAC that is at least partly funded by liberal billionaire George Soros.
The new internet and cable TV ad was financed by a federally registered campaign committee from Washington called the Safety & Justice Committee. It was established in June and reported $30,000 in initial funds from Soros. No other contributors were listed as of its last public filing June 30.
Last week, Gardner’s campaign disclosed to the Missouri Ethics Commission a $67,693.23 in-kind contribution from the super PAC. The group apparently took in additional money after June 30, since it donated more to Gardner than it had on hand at that time. But any money donated to the PAC after June 30 won’t be made public until its next quarterly report is filed on Oct. 15.
August 3, 2016
Supports of Kim Gardner celebrate her win following a news broadcast of circuit attorney election results at Exodus Gallery in St. Louis. One supporter, Nicole Pleasant, said she was inspired to pursue a career as an attorney because of Gardner, who told her, “You can affect the most change as a prosecutor.”
October 27, 2016
According to financial report records obtained by Target 7, George Soros gave more than $100,000 to a political action committee called, “New Mexico Safety and Justice.” The money was spent on commercials for the Torrez campaign.
June 23, 2016
Republican Simon Kubiak announced Thursday he is dropping out of the race for District Attorney in Bernalillo County.
Kubiak, an Albuquerque defense attorney, told NM Political Report his reasons for dropping out are “purely financial” and that he was at a disadvantage against his Democratic candidate Raul Torrez.
“I just can’t raise as much money as Raul,” Kubiak said in a phone interview.
According to its latest filing, Kubiak’s campaign reported having slightly more than $1,600 in cash on hand with $500 of unpaid campaign debt. Kubiak loaned that money his campaign to open a bank account. Torrez last reported having $41,500 on hand with $10,000 in unpaid campaign debt.
May 17, 2017
Krasner, 56, easily defeated six other contenders Tuesday, in a campaign that went from low-key to high-profile last month with a $1.45 million investment from billionaire George Soros in a pro-Krasner independent political action committee.
Krasner, a defense attorney for three decades best known for taking on civil rights cases for Black Lives Matter and Occupy Philadelphia members, AIDS activists and protesters arrested at political conventions, has never served a day in his career as a prosecutor.
It got a little rowdy as the results rolled in.
Chants of “No good cops in a racist system” and against the Fraternal Order of Police were quickly shut down by Krasner campaign staffers.
October 27, 2016
Billionaire George Soros again has stepped into the Harris County district attorney’s race with a half-million-dollar advertising buy on behalf of Democratic candidate Kim Ogg.
Last February, the liberal business-philanthropist—and Republican bogeyman—spent $100,000 in support of Ogg’s unsuccessful primary opponent Morris Overstreet.
The latest Soros contribution arrives just days after the Ogg campaign filed a quarterly finance report showing she received nearly $135,000 in campaign contributions from a PAC supported by Steve Mostyn, another major Democratic financier.
November 9, 2016
HOUSTON – Kim Ogg has won the race for Harris County District Attorney by 54%-46%.
Devon Anderson conceded Tuesday night without mentioning the name of her opponent.
Kim Ogg: Becoming DA "a dream come true". Bail reform will be a top priority in her first weeks in office. pic.twitter.com/zuyoD4ChIT
— Adam Bennett (@AdamBennettKHOU) November 9, 2016
November 10, 2016
Increased transparency following police shootings. Following controversial officer-involved shootings over the past year, almost immediately, calls to release video footage rang out from Black Lives Matter and other local advocacy organizations, especially after the shooting of Alva Braziel. While Mayor Sylvester Turner acted swiftly in deciding to release what turned out to be inconclusive body-camera footage to some, Ogg has said that the current DA’s office administration has not done enough to immediately respond to the public’s concerns amid high-stakes internal investigations, particularly after officer-involved shootings.
Bail reform. It’s been up for discussion for over a year now, as activist groups and legal watchdogs have turned up the pressure on criminal justice officials: Bail reform is absolutely essential in Harris County — but how? What does a new system look like, in which only dangerous criminals are jailed before trial and the presumed-innocent defendants, who are not a safety threat, are allowed to go home to their families and jobs without paying a price? That’s the question that Ogg will play a crucial role in helping to answer in the coming months.
May 10, 2017
A federal judge issued new instructions Wednesday for Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez to carry out court-ordered changes to the county’s bail system starting Monday, a move that could clear hundreds of misdemeanor defendants from the county jail.
Unless an appeals court temporarily halts the judge’s order in the next few days, Gonzalez said he and his staff are ready to enact the changes, which he supports.