Hungarian-born billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros has been virtually absent in politics since he spent an unprecedented $27 million in an attempt to defeat George W. Bush in 2004. Soros is a longtime Hillary Clinton supporter, and it seems that her run for president has lured Soros back into the political realm. According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records, Soros has committed over $25 million to the Clinton campaign and other Democratic causes.
More so than others of his caliber, Soros carries considerable influence in the donor world. Many believe that his faith in Hillary may spur other wealthy Democrats to follow suit.
When asked why Soros had reduced his spending on partisan politics, someone close to the billionaire responded, “The answer was that he found it ‘odious’ for any one individual to throw too much political weight around through donations. Maybe, in light of what’s happened in the last few cycles, it seems less so, or he feels the need to help balance the outside-money scales a bit.”
Soros had planned to attend the DNC this month to watch Hillary’s coronation as party nominee, but backed out at the last minute to focus on the economic situation in Europe.
Those close to Soros believe that his sudden interest in politics is a combination of support for Hillary and fear of GOP nominee Donald Trump, the latter of which Soros has accused of “doing the work of ISIS” by escalating fears. Soros urges voters to “resist the siren song of the likes of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz” if the US is to be successful in the war on terror.
Michael Vachon, Soros’ political adviser, says that Soros “has been a consistent donor to Democratic causes, but this year the political stakes are exceptionally high. They were high even before Trump became the nominee because of the hostility on the other side toward many of the issues George cares most about and has worked to support for many years, including immigration reform, criminal justice reform, and religious tolerance.”
Soros’ support for Clinton is bad news for Trump, especially considering the fact that he doesn’t have much support from the GOP donor class. Soros has played a vital role in building up what Politico refers to as Clinton’s “humming campaign machine that dwarfs Trump’s.”
By the end of last month, Soros had donated $7 million to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supporting Clinton. This marked the single biggest donation of Soros’ political largesse this cycle. According to FEC records, the Hungarian businessman donated $2 million to super PAC American Bridge 21st Century, an opposition group that has been targeting Donald Trump.
Soros has committed $5 million to Immigrant Voters Win, a super PAC dedicated to increasing the turnout of Hispanic voters in swing states. The billionaire investor has committed another $5 million to Voting Rights Trust, a nonprofit that aims to fight conservative efforts to restrict voting.
This month, Soros gave $1.5 million to Senate Majority PAC (a group that boosts Democratic Senate candidates) and another $1.5 million to Planned Parenthood Votes, a super PAC that supports pro-choice candidates (including Hillary).
Soros current giving pattern mirrors his behavior in 2004, when he gave $27 million to a handful of liberal groups in an effort to boost John Kerry’s campaign.