Leaked funding documents reveal an effort by George Soros and his foundations to manipulate election laws and process rules ahead of the federal election far more expansively than has been previously reported.
The billionaire and convicted felon moved hundreds of millions of dollars into often-secret efforts to change election laws, fuel litigation to attack election integrity measures, push public narratives about voter fraud, and to integrate the political ground game of the left with efforts to scare racial minority groups about voting rights threats.
These Soros-funded efforts moved through dozens of 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) charities and involved the active compliance with civil rights groups, government officials, and purportedly non-partisan groups like the League of Women Voters.
The leaked documents also reveal deliberate and successful efforts to manipulate media coverage of election issues in mainstream media outlets like the The New York Times.
Conservatives and Republicans have no opposing effort or source of funds that represents even a small fraction in opposition to level of the Soros-led manipulation contained in the leaked documents.
The documents reveal that the Soros campaign fueled litigation attacking election integrity measures, such as citizenship verification and voter ID. It funded long-term efforts to fundamentally transform election administration — including the creation of databases that were marketed to state governments for use in voter verification. It propped up left-leaning media to attack reports of voter fraud, and conducted racially and ideologically targeted voter registration drives.
The racially targeted voter registration drives were executed at the same time Soros dollars were funding other public relations efforts to polarize racial minority groups by scaring them about the loss of voting rights and the dangers of police officers.
The Soros documents reveal hundreds of millions of dollars being poured into the effort to transform the legal and media environment touching on elections. One document notes that poverty-alleviation programs are being de-emphasized for this new effort. It states: “George Soros has authorized U.S. Programs to propose a budget of $320 million over two years, with the understanding that the annual budget for U.S. Programs will be $150 million beginning in 2013.”
The purpose of the expansion is clear:
The increase in Democracy and Power Fund budget will expand funding of non-partisan voter engagement to catalyze participation from African-American, Latino, immigrant, and youth communities in particular, and to ensure a fair and just redistricting process. The increase in the Transparency and Integrity Fund will expand support for election reform, judicial independence and journalism.
Below are some highlights of this expansive Soros-funded campaign to alter the legal environment and rules of American elections.
- Soros funded multiple attacks on state voter identification laws in places such as Wisconsin, North Carolina and Virginia. While not successful at the trial court in North Carolina and Virginia, the Soros litigation won a victory in the appeals courts resulting in North Carolina election integrity laws being suspended for the presidential election. Worse, the litigation resulted in opinions by federal appeals courts which could potentially turn the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into a one-way political ratchet that helps Democrats, as long as Democrats can enforce racially polarized voting patterns.
- Soros documents show funding for the League of Women Voters and their effort “to catalyze greater participation from Black and Latino youth in advocacy both before and after elections.” The LWV is currently in federal court trying to stop efforts by Kansas, Georgia, and Alabama to verify that only citizens are registering to vote. The same organization intervened in a lawsuit by the Public Interest Legal Foundation to clean voter rolls in a Virginia jurisdiction with more registered voters than eligible citizens.
- Soros documents show funding of $250,000 for the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP before the group then sued to stop the use of voter ID in North Carolina. Other groups in North Carolina that were on the funding documents include: “Action Institute NC – $75,000 over one year . . . North Carolina Latino Coalition – $75,000 . . . New World Foundation – $300,000 over one year . . . North Carolina Fair Share Education Fund – $75,000 . . . School for Creative Activism – $75,000.”
- Soros documents show that it funded efforts to attack the efforts of Tea Party organizations such as True the Vote to promote election integrity and triggered Department of Justice action. One funding document states that the Campaign Legal Center, [former John McCain lawyer] Trevor Potter, and the Brennan Center worked on “voter registration reform” and efforts to attack Tea Party groups. “CLC is focusing most of its efforts on the threat posed by these private ‘challenger’ groups and, to that end, has been gathering information on the activities of such groups, including Houston-based True the Vote. Working in partnership with Transparency Fund grantee Project Vote, CLC has pieced together a narrative that strongly suggests a widespread effort by True the Vote to suppress minority voting. CLC made Open Records Requests to officials in Houston to obtain all communications between True the Vote and Houston election offices, obtained and analyzed these documents and presented their findings to the United States Department of Justice last month. Following this meeting, the Justice Department sent federal officials to Houston to monitor the May primary elections. One other aspect of CLC’s work in this area is its Executive Director, J. Gerald Hebert’s role as chief counsel to a group of intervenors in State of Texas v. Holder.”
- The funding documents name groups which received in excess of $500,000 each year from Soros. They include: “Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Center for American Progress, Advancement Project, Center for Community Change, Brennan Center.” Three of the largest recipients are engaged in litigation and strategic communications denying voter fraud and seeking to transform the rules of elections.
- Soros money is moving away from pressing for “campaign finance reform” and speech regulations, and instead into election process areas. The funding documents state “We do recommend shifts in a significant area of previous strategy. Historically, OSI played a leading role in promoting campaign finance reform models at the national and state levels. In recent years, changed conditions caused us to re-examine our approach, and our analysis led us to begin discontinuing our support to campaign finance reform groups.”
- Soros money fought voter ID, everywhere. The leaked documents state: “The 2012 elections proved that momentum is with the voting rights and civil rights community rather than their detractors. Not only was this field successful at blocking restrictive laws from being implemented in Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Texas, Wisconsin and South Carolina, but a strong coalition in Minnesota came from behind to achieve the first victory against photo ID on the ballot.”
- Soros money was directed at the Advancement Project and Brennan Center to influence media coverage on election integrity issues and provide voter fraud denial propaganda. Leaked funding documents state: “In a specific grant update, the U.S. Programs board-funded communications and messaging project was successfully led by the Brennan Center and the Advancement Project, and played an important role in the spike in media attention on voting rights this year. The groups developed affirmative voting rights messages and shared them widely in and beyond the field. The messages were used verbatim hundreds of times in sources ranging from The New York Times to the Philadelphia Inquirer, quickly and fully working their way into the media, national and local, and across social networking sites.” Verbatim.
- Soros funding documents reveal that the Brennan Center and Advancement Project, two organizations regularly opposing election integrity measures in court, were among the largest Soros funding recipients for the entire Soros program.
- ERIC, the program seeded by PEW to allow states to verify voter identity which many states now use, was started with Soros money and an “anonymous” donor.
- Soros money partnered with the Rockefeller Family Fund to push for changes to voter registration policies at the national level and gave money to Pew Center On The States to push for voter list maintenance practices favorable to Soros at the state level. After these grants were made, Oregon and California moved toward mandatory voter registration, where everyone who is on a government database is automatically put on the list of eligible voters. Legislation was also introduced in Congress to nationalize voter registration even though the Constitution gives power to the states to run their own elections.
- Soros money funded a variety of organizations to “broaden the voices calling for reform” including the Brennan Center for Justice which subsequently issued a report on mandatory voter registration.
- Soros money is funding some of the loudest voices who deny that voter fraud is a serious problem. These voices have produced poorly researched studies that are routinely cited by mainstream media to argue that voter fraud is a myth. Among the groups are the Brennan Center for Justice and the Advancement Project, two organizations that have opposed election integrity laws and have sought to stop the efforts of states to ensure that only citizens are voting. Soros grants also went to “New America Media,” which describes itself as “a nationwide association of 3,000 ethnic media organizations representing the development of a more inclusive journalism.” This mix of funding for media efforts with non-profit organizations that oppose election integrity was branded as “Broad and Equitable Access to the Ballot” in Soros funding documents.
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