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Republicans invoke Soros to steer narrative on Trump probe
Criminal Law Updates | 2023/03/22 17:02
As former President Donald Trump braces for a potential indictment related to hush money payments made on his behalf during his 2016 campaign, Republicans blasting the case as politically motivated are blaming a frequent target: George Soros.

The 92-year-old billionaire investor and philanthropist — who has been falsely accused of everything from hiring violent rioters to committing election crimes — doesn’t know and didn’t donate directly to the New York prosecutor steering the probe. But that hasn’t stopped Trump and other high-profile Republicans from accusing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who convened the grand jury investigating Trump, of acting on Soros’ behalf.

Trump on Monday used his Truth Social platform to misleadingly claim that Bragg “received in EXCESS OF ONE MILLION DOLLARS” from Soros. Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance tweeted that the prosecutor was “bought by George Soros.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called the case a “manufactured circus by some Soros-DA.”

Experts say the claims exploit a gray area of campaign fundraising, where tenuous connections between PAC donors and the candidates who ultimately receive the funds can be unclear.

Scapegoating Soros, who is Hungarian American and Jewish, also perpetuates deep-rooted false ideas about Jewish people and immigrants to underscore the conspiracy theory that he is a shadowy villain orchestrating world events.

The misleading claims about Soros’ link to the Trump case stem from a real donation the philanthropist made in 2021. Soros gave $1 million to Color of Change PAC, a political group that ran an independent expenditure campaign to support Bragg’s district attorney run.

But Soros spokesman Michael Vachon confirmed the wealthy donor’s contribution to the PAC was not earmarked to be used for Bragg. Soros didn’t donate to Bragg’s campaign directly, and the two have never met in person, by phone or virtually, Vachon said.

Soros’ contribution to Color of Change PAC, which told The Associated Press it supports prosecutors looking to change the criminal justice system, follows a pattern for the investor, who “has made numerous contributions in support of reform-minded prosecutors across the country since 2015,” Vachon said.

Soros wrote in an op-ed in 2022 that he supports these candidates because they invest in changes he supports, including mental health programs and treating drug addiction as a disease instead of a crime. Personally and through another PAC, Soros donated about $4 million to Color of Change PAC between 2016 and 2022, Vachon said.


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