Progressive billionaire George Soros is bankrolling the left-wing activist group whose members accosted Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) in a bathroom over the weekend.
Activists with Living United for Change in Arizona filmed Sinema while she was teaching at Arizona State University on Saturday after she refused to meet with the organization to discuss her opposition to a $3.5 trillion "Build Back Better" spending bill. Soros’s Open Society Foundation is Living United’s biggest donor. The group gave $1.5 million to Living United in 2019 and $250,000 in 2017, according to the philanthropy’s grants database. Living United reported around $1.7 million in revenue in 2019 and $328,000 in 2017.
The Living United activists may have broken Arizona law, which says it is illegal to photograph or videotape another person in a restroom "where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy" and is relieving themselves or undressing.
Video of the incident begins with Sinema entering a bathroom stall and ends as she exits the facility. The activists in the video are heard asking Sinema to support the "Build Back Better" plan, as well as a path to citizenship for seven million illegal immigrants in the United States. Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) support a spending measure with a far smaller price tag.
Founded in 2009, Living United organizes voting drives and assists campaigns for Democratic candidates. The activists who stalked Sinema are heard saying that they canvassed for her during past elections. While Living United bills itself as a grassroots community organizer, it is funded by several deep-pocketed progressive donors.
Bold PAC, the fundraising arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, gave $12,500 to Living United on Aug. 4, according to Federal Election Commission records. The committee includes more than three dozen of Sinema’s Democratic colleagues in the Senate and House. Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.), Alex Padilla (Calif.), and Robert Menendez (N.J.) are listed as members of the committee on the Bold PAC website. The senators did not respond to requests for comment about Living United’s confrontation of their Democratic colleague.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s pro-immigration charity, FWD.us, gave $7,500 to Living United last year. The Ford Foundation gave the organization a $500,000 grant in 2018. The National Education Association, the largest teachers' union in the country, contributed $60,000 to Living United in both 2017 and 2019.
None of Living United’s donors responded to requests for comment.