Soros Group Eclipses $70 Million Spent on Lobbying Since Trump Took Office 

Billionaire spent more in past 2.5 years on advocacy than prior 14 years combined

George Soros / Getty Images
October 24, 2019

The Open Society Policy Center (OSPC), an advocacy group funded by billionaire George Soros, has now pushed more than $70 million into lobbying efforts since Donald Trump took office.

Soros's policy group, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that focuses on domestic and international advocacy, pushed $72 million into lobbying since January 2017. The amount that OSPC has put toward advocacy efforts over the last two-and-a-half years is a drastic uptick over what the group had spent in the prior 14 years combined.

From 2002 to 2016, OSPC reported spending a total of $56.65 million, which averages out to $4 million per year with most of this money going toward efforts over a four-year period from 2012 to 2016. Since Trump was sworn into office, the group has averaged $25 million per year in lobbying-related expenditures.

Soros's group has both in-house lobbyists and provides grants to other liberal organizations for their own lobbying activities. The group reported spending $15.89 million throughout the third quarter, its filings show. The money in part went to its own lobbyists pushing issues on Capitol Hill in relation to the 2020 Senate Department of Defense Appropriations Act, National Defense Authorization Act and State and Foreign Operations Appropriations, and issues pertaining to the Arms Export Control Act and War Powers Act. OSPC lobbied both the House of Representatives and Senate over the last three months.

OSPC has now spent $24.41 million this year, an amount that is in line with its record from last year. Throughout 2018, the group dropped $31.5 million into lobbying and was among the top three lobbyist spenders ahead of the likes of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Alphabet Inc., Boeing, Comcast, and Amazon, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Its 2018 advocacy money was increased by $15.3 million over the $16.2 million the group had spent in 2017, its previous record year.

OSPC currently shows two in-house lobbyists. The group, however, has no direct employees. Instead, individuals at the Open Society Institute, the legal name for the Open Society Foundations, perform work for OSPC, according to its tax forms.

In addition to its in-house lobbyists, the policy center also pushes funds to other like-minded progressive groups for lobbying.

During the first and second quarters, OSPC disbursed $8.5 million in grants to other left-wing groups. Much of the cash was marked toward the recipient's own advocacy efforts, which is counted toward OSPC's lobbying totals. Its third quarter grants are not yet available.

Some of the groups that received funds from OSPC throughout the year include America's Voice and Border Network for Human Rights for immigration policy advocacy, Public Citizen to "support policy advocacy on government accountability and oversight," and J Street for advocacy on the United States and Israeli relations.

"We are proud of our work and fearless in meeting the moral obligation of the moment to support organizations opposing hate filled attacks on synagogues, communities of color, and immigrants and refugees," Tom Perriello, who leads OSPC's work, told the Washington Free Beacon. "On some of the issues we work on, there historically had been a bipartisan consensus. But an administration that casually and callously refers to lynchings and coups and calls parts of the Constitution 'phony' presents historic challenges."

"In a typical quarter, the top 10 spenders on lobbying represent corporate interests—big business, big insurance companies, big technology," Perriello continued. "The Open Society Policy Center is, sadly, alone in fighting for the rights of workers, patients, and consumers. In the third quarter of 2019, corporate interests spent $320 million, outpacing us by a 10 to 1 margin."