George Soros Funds Election Campaigns for Local District Attorney Races
Billionaire philanthropist George Soros has, over the course of the last two years, launched an effort to remake the landscape of our criminal justice system. One of the least visible of offices is that of the local prosecutor. Yet, local prosecutors exercise considerable political and social leverage. The Reflective Democracy Campaign, an arm of the Women Donor’s Network, conducted research in 2015 which noted that 95% of all District Attorneys were white and over two thirds of those were men. The United States engaged in a bout of hyper-incarceration over the course of more than thirty years, from 1980 to 2010. The country led the world in rates of incarceration and only recently have we begun to counter that trend. One of the salient characteristics of what some have deemed a “race to incarcerate” has been colossal disparities by race. One way of countering that dynamic and bringing about a greater equity in justice is to ensure prosecutors more closely reflect the populations they are convicting and sentencing, often in a very disparate manner.
Progressive “Safety and Justice” Initiatives
This is not Soros’ opening foray into criminal justice reform efforts. For nearly twenty years, Soros has funded multiple efforts through his flagship philanthropic organization, the Open Society Institute. OSI runs a wide variety of justice reform programs, including its Justice and Media Fellowship programs which provide funding for leaders working on all aspects of justice reform across the United States and its Territories. The efforts to transform the offices of local prosecutors are being conducted out of Safety and Justice initiatives. Specific elections and geographical areas have been targeted for funding in an effort to equalize the playing field by race by assisting Black and Hispanic candidates in elections against incumbent white prosecutors. Thus far, Soros has funded such campaigns in six States; Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. These efforts have been extremely successful meeting defeat in only one race, Houston, Texas.
Also at Issue, the Failure to Indict in Officer-Involved Shootings
From Ferguson, MO to Staten Island, New York and From Los Angeles, CA to multiple incidents in the State of Florida, again and again, the public has witnessed a series of officer-involved fatal shootings of unarmed, usually African-American citizens. Despite the fact that the broader public has access to these fatal shootings by virtue of cell-phone video recordings, local Prosecutors almost universally fail to indict officers on criminal charges. This failure to indict has spurred mounting public outrage. Usually, the prosecutors involved are white and those who were shot are people of color. The unending slate of such incidents over the last several years has fostered a dire lack of confidence in our criminal justice system and in law enforcement. The strategy of shifting this horrific set of realities embarked upon by Soros would seem to possess merit. If local prosecutors begin to resemble the communities they represent more closely perhaps this range of injustices may be ameliorated.
George Soros’ quiet overhaul of the U.S. justice system
Progressives have zeroed in on electing prosecutors as an avenue for criminal justice reform, and the billionaire financier is providing the cash to make it happen. George Soros’ quiet overhaul of the U.S. justice system