George Soros's advocacy group, the second-highest-spending lobby group in the country, has halted its advocacy operations after its lobbyists departed earlier this year.
The Open Society Policy Center (OSPC), a D.C.-based lobbying shop in the liberal billionaire's vast network, deployed two in-house staffers to influence Capitol Hill lawmakers on legislation. The policy center, however, recently filed a termination report to the U.S. House of Representatives Office of the Clerk that became effective on March 31, as both lobbyists left the OSPC earlier in the year.
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The two lobbyists were an integral part of Soros's political influence operation. Their departure means the nonprofit's advocacy efforts in the nation's capital will halt for the time being. OSPC was the second-largest lobbying spender in the nation in 2019, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Soros's lobbying shop has poured more than $100 million into advocacy efforts since President Donald Trump took office—$40 million more than it spent over the previous 14 years combined. In recent years, it has spent more than Amazon, Facebook, Boeing, and Alphabet, Google's parent company. Only the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more than the OSPC on lobbying last year. Much of the OSPC's spending was for grants to other liberal organizations for their advocacy efforts rather than its own lobbying.
Jonathan Kaplan, a spokesman for the OSPC, said the two staff members, who had to register under the Lobbying Disclosure Act—which requires the disclosure of activities to influence the federal government—departed the group before the end of the quarter. Federal guidance says to terminate registration once there are no registered lobbyists, so the group filed a termination report.
"We will continue abiding by the rules and register [as a lobbying group] if or when we trigger the requirements again," Kaplan told the Washington Free Beacon. He added that OSPC would provide a breakdown of its expenses, the "vast majority" of which are grants, online.
The two lobbyists departed for other jobs in D.C. Lora Lumpe, OSPC's former advocacy director, left the group to become the first CEO of the Soros- and Charles Koch-funded Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Staff and scholars at the foreign policy think tank have been dogged by charges of anti-Semitism and have echoed Chinese propaganda. Jacob Marx, OSPC's former senior policy specialist, is now a military legislative assistant in Rep. Katie Porter's (D., Calif.) D.C. office.
While Soros's group will have to put the brakes on its own Capitol Hill lobbying until it again meets the requirements for registration, two other D.C. lobbying outfits—NVG LLC and the Raben Group—list the OSPC as a client. The New York City-based Mirram Group also reports Soros's Open Society Foundation as a client.
The OSPC spent a record $48 million on advocacy last year. It lobbied in favor of making gun companies liable for crimes committed with firearms, against President Trump's judicial nominations, and on issues related to immigration enforcement. Groups that receive money from OSPC have pushed back against repealing Obamacare and Trump's tax cuts.
During the first quarter of 2020, the OSPC added $5 million to its lobbying total, its newest disclosures show. Its staffers lobbied Congress on the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021 and issues related to national security powers.
The OSPC's website shows that during the third quarter of 2019, the group spent $3.9 million on projects at the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a massive dark money network that funneled more than $600 million to liberal groups and initiatives in 2018 alone. It passed at least $1 million more to other activist organizations, including Community Change Action, Emgage Action, Indivisible Project, Tides Advocacy, and New Virginia Majority. Its fourth-quarter grants are not yet posted.
The OSPC will continue to hand out grants after the departure of its in-house lobbyists.