Report: Soros Prosecutors Run Half of America's Largest Jurisdictions

Democratic megadonor funneled more than $40 million to elect 75 prosecutors in the last decade

New York City police investigate / Getty Images
June 8, 2022

George Soros spent more than $40 million in the past decade to elect scores of liberal prosecutors in half of America's largest jurisdictions, many of which are now roiled by crime.

The Democratic megadonor has backed 75 so-called justice reform prosecutors through direct contributions, PACs, and other third-party entities, the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund revealed in a June report. Though many had little prosecutorial experience when elected, they represent 72 million Americans in some of the nation's most populous municipalities. Ten Soros prosecutors, including Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner (D.) and Los Angeles district attorney George Gascon (D.), received $13 million in just the last four years, going on to win races where they had vastly outraised their competition—sometimes by as much as 90 percent. In each race, Soros was the single greatest donor to the campaign.

"Our study shows for the first time, Soros's funding and installation of these district attorneys is fundamentally dismantling the criminal justice system as we know it," Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund president Jason Johnson told the Washington Free Beacon.

The report discloses the power progressive criminal prosecutors wield in the American justice system—and the potential effects of that influence on crime. The FBI in 2020 reported its highest single-year increase in homicides—a 30 percent jump from the previous year. A year later, 12 cities, including Krasner's Philadelphia and Soros-backed district attorney José Garza's Austin, Texas, broke their all-time homicide records. According to the report, more than 40 percent of homicides and a third of all violent and property crimes in 2021 occurred in jurisdictions run by Soros prosecutors.

From cities like Seattle and Los Angeles, to wealthy suburbs near Washington, D.C., to provincial counties in Mississippi and Wisconsin, the prosecutors have radically overhauled bail laws and pursued lightened sentencing in an effort to reduce incarceration. Soros began his quiet effort to remake America's criminal justice system in 2014, donating $50 million to the ACLU for justice reform activism. He followed up in 2016 by funneling more than $3 million into seven local campaigns, including to Cook County district attorney Kim Foxx (D.), the controversial Chicago prosecutor known for dropping charges against Jussie Smollett, who committed a hate crime hoax.

Johnson told the Free Beacon career prosecutors are becoming a thing of the past as former tax attorneys and ACLU lawyers have ascended to top prosecutorial positions on Soros's dime.

Soros's network of justice reform groups includes more than 500 PACs, dark money groups, and nonprofits, the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund report notes. Some, such as the Drug Policy Alliance, where Soros serves as chairman, are open about their affiliation. Others, like the Tides Center, are "donor pass-through organization[s]," which launder donations from Soros's philanthropic juggernauts, including the Open Society Foundations, to subentities and political PACs.

Through a cluster of statewide public safety PACs, Soros donated more than a million dollars each to Krasner, Gascon, Foxx, and Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg (D.). He also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Virginia prosecutors Buta Biberaj (D.) and Steve Descano (D.), both of whom have received scrutiny in office for failing to prosecute violent criminals and allowing repeat offenders to victimize others. In a New York Times op-ed last week, Descano also pledged not to prosecute illegal abortions if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this month.

Virginia attorney general Jason Miyares (R.) told the Free Beacon the ascent of Soros prosecutors has changed criminal law in many jurisdictions overnight and made communities less safe.

"Instead of trying to change the law through elected officials, these groups are electing prosecutors who simply ignore it," Miyares said. "They've replaced DAs that follow the law with radical extremists with an agenda that makes our communities less safe and emboldens criminals."

The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund cited Free Beacon report in March that revealed Descano's office had dropped felony charges against a man who attempted to abduct and rape a hotel maid in 2020. One year later, the same man was charged for killing two homeless men and wounding three others during a nine-day shooting spree in New York City and Washington, D.C.

The looming threat to public safety has inspired recall efforts against Descano, Biberaj, and Soros-funded Arlington County commonwealth's attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti (D.) in Virginia.

"Soros prosecutors now preside over 20 percent of Americans with the same disastrous results we have seen in Virginia—violent criminals and sexual predators roam the streets victimizing innocents," Sean Kennedy, the president of Virginians for Safe Communities, which fielded a recall effort against the prosecutors, told the Free Beacon. "As San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin faces his fate in a recall today, VSC knows that Northern Virginia’s Soros prosecutors will face the same public reckoning soon as the American people want safety first."

Other prosecutors have participated in junkets, symposiums, and even lavish retreats put on by Soros-funded entities. More than 20 Soros prosecutors, including Gascon, Baltimore state's attorney Marilyn Mosby (D.), and St. Louis circuit attorney Kim Gardner (D.), traveled with Fair and Just Prosecution, a Tides Center subentity, in 2019 to Germany and Portugal, where they learned about "drug decriminalization and harm reduction approaches." The Vera Institute of Justice, a think tank funded by millions from Soros's Open Society Foundation, treated Mosby and Foxx the same year to an all-expenses-paid spa retreat during work days.

The Vera Institute and other think tanks funded by Soros also promote these progressive prosecutors' tactics while shielding them from bad press. New York University's Brennan Center for Justice has the public relations firm BerlinRosen on retainer for district attorneys it works with, according to the report.

The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund anticipates Soros will spend millions more to reelect Gascon and to install other candidates in Raleigh, N.C., and Alameda County and Orange County, Calif., this year.

Voters in San Francisco issued the first check against Soros prosecutors during a recall election Tuesday, with 60 percent ousting San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin (D.) after a little more than two years in office.

Update 7:09 a.m.: This piece has been updated with the result of the San Francisco recall election.