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Billionaire Progressives Fund Weather Underground Terrorist’s Ivy League Think Tank

Andrew Cuomo granted clemency to Kathy Boudin's partner, David Gilbert

Kathy Boudin’s 1970 FBI wanted poster / Wikimedia Commons
• August 25, 2021 5:00 am

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Former Weather Underground member David Gilbert may be poised for a jailbreak thanks to former New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D.), but progressives have long supported his terrorist wife, who has for the past seven years operated a criminal-justice reform think tank at Columbia University.

The Center for Justice, Kathy Boudin's think tank at Columbia, is bankrolled by left-wing billionaires, including George Soros, Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz, and Peter Buffett, the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett. Their philanthropy has collectively poured millions into the Center for Justice, which Boudin cofounded in 2014 to push criminal justice reform.

Boudin and several Weather Underground members were convicted in 1983 on murder charges for their role in a robbery of a 1981 Brinks truck in Nyack, N.Y. Two police officers and a security guard were murdered during a shootout that followed the robbery. Cuomo, who resigned Tuesday in the wake of sexual harassment charges, granted clemency to Boudin's partner Gilbert, who is serving a 75-year sentence for second-degree murder connected to the robbery.

Boudin and Gilbert are the parents of San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin (D.), who called on Cuomo last year to commute his father's prison sentence.

Kathy Boudin rose through the ranks of academia after she was paroled in 2003. She joined Columbia University as an adjunct professor before she began the Center for Justice. The center says it partners with government agencies, universities, and advocacy groups to end mass incarceration and advance "alternative approaches to justice and safety through education, research, and policy change."

The center also partners with the Manhattan district attorney's office on a program called "Inside Criminal Justice."

The NoVo Foundation, a charity founded by Buffett, contributed $2.5 million to the center in 2018. Buffett launched NoVo Foundation in 2008 with seed money from his billionaire father.

Soros's Open Society Foundations in 2019 gave $150,000 to the Center for Justice. Moskovitz's charity, the Open Philanthropy Project, sponsored the Center for Justice's "Beyond the Bars" events in 2018 and 2019. The Ford Foundation, which sponsors a variety of left-wing causes, contributed $15,000 to "Beyond the Bars."

Other backers are the Tow Foundation and Robert Sterling Clark Foundation.

Soros has backed progressive prosecutors across the country, many of whom have come under fire amid crime spikes in their cities. While Chesa Boudin has not received any direct support from Soros, he faces a recall effort from opponents who fault his policies for a dramatic increase in crime in San Francisco. Boudin ended the use of cash bail, supports cutting the jail population, and declines to prosecute crimes such as prostitution and public urination.

Boudin faced a recall effort after a career criminal, whom he declined to prosecute, killed two pedestrians while driving drunk on New Year's Eve. The Moskovitz-funded Real Justice PAC, which supports the defund-the-police movement, has contributed more than $2 million to support progressive prosecutors, including Boudin. The political action committee contributed $100,000 to oppose the Boudin recall effort.

It is unclear whether the Center for Justice benefactors are aware of Kathy Boudin's terrorist acts. In addition to her role in the Brinks robbery, she was at a Weather Underground hideout in 1970 when a bomb the group was building accidentally exploded. Three Weather Underground members died in the blast, though Boudin escaped without injury. The terrorists had hoped to kill Army personnel by setting off the bomb at a social event at New Jersey's Fort Dix.