George Soros, the financial titan once known as the “man who broke the Bank of England,” has opened his checkbook again to support Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as Democratic Senate candidates on the ballot this year.
The news marks an about face from the billionaire Soros who, while supporting President Barack Obama and other Democratic and liberal causes, had refrained from massive donations in recent years. Instead, George Soros has focused his energies on more quiet efforts, like international development and the Democracy Alliance, a coalition of grassroots liberal groups.
Soros made his first large scale political investment when he spent $27 million in a futile effort to defeat President George W. Bush in his 2004 re-election campaign. That year, with the Iraq War raising his ire, Soros directed massive giving through the 527 organization America Coming Together.
However, at the end of the campaign, American Coming Together fell well short of ousting Bush and saw Republicans retake the Senate and gain seats in the House. According to Soros associates quoted in Politico, Soros found it “odious” that private individuals in the United States were allowed to spend that much money to support political candidates.
In recent years, however, the massive political contributions made by billionaire conservative brothers Charles and David Koch have made Soros’ 2004 effort seem quaint in comparison.
However, it apparently wasn’t the idea of countering the Koch Brothers that drove Soros to turn on the financial spigot. Instead, Soros has a deep fear of Republican nominee and New York businessman Donald J. Trump and a much warmer relationship with Clinton.
According to emails contained on Clinton’s private server revealed, Soros told prominent liberals like Center for American Progress chief Neera Tanden that he personally liked Clinton and found her to be a detail-oriented, intelligent leader.
Soros has put his money where his mouth is: By the end of June, he had donated $7 million to Priorities USA Action, the lead super PAC supporting Clinton on en.wikipedia.org. That represents a drop in the bucket compared to Soros’ estimated $25 billion net worth, but a major cash infusion for a group buying television ads in battleground states.
He is also working with election lawyer Marc Elias, a partner in Washington’s prominent Perkins Coie firm, on a major project to challenge laws that are perceived as disenfranchising poor and minority voters.
In addition, Soros is supporting state parties, American Bridge 21st Century – a Democratic research outfit – and several groups aimed at motivating slices of the electorate, like Hispanic immigrants, to turnout.
Showing that Soros is not just focused on the presidential race, he has also contributed $1.5 million each to the Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC that works in tandem with Senate Democratic leadership on Senate races, and Planned Parenthood Votes, which supports pro-choice candidates for House and Senate.