Meet the Soros-Linked Biden Donors Trying To Buy TikTok

Project Liberty, which wants to buy TikTok, was founded by Biden megadonor Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
May 28, 2024

A Biden megadonor, a board member of George Soros’s foundation, and a former aide to Bill Clinton are seeking to buy TikTok as part of a "visionary initiative to transform how the Internet works."

Project Liberty, a "global alliance for responsible technology" founded by billionaire former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, announced last week that it is working to assemble a group of investors to buy the social media platform from its Chinese parent company ByteDance.

"Project Liberty is organizing a bid to acquire the popular social media platform TikTok in the U.S., with the goal of placing people and data empowerment at the center of the platform’s design and purpose," the group announced on its website.

But conservative free speech advocates are raising concerns about Project Liberty’s board, which is stacked with left-wing activists, and with McCourt’s history of bankrolling Democratic politicians.

"Every prominent Democrat not named Ro Khanna has now bought into the belief that government and big tech should censor their political opponents," said Daniel Schneider, the vice president of the Media Research Center’s Free Speech America project.

"[When] you see this horde of Democrats trying to buy TikTok, it’s clear they have the same motivation as George Soros does in buying hundreds of radio stations. They are trying to control information flow to manipulate people and how they vote."

Project Liberty’s bid could reignite debate over political bias and social media companies. In 2020, Twitter and other platforms were accused of misusing anti-disinformation and anti-hate speech policies to ban conservatives and censor journalism that was unfavorable to Joe Biden’s presidential bid.

Democrats view TikTok as a powerful tool to reach younger voters in their base. The platform—which is used by 60 percent of U.S. adults under the age of 30—is so valuable for political messaging that the Biden campaign and other Democratic politicians have continued to use it despite the controversy over TikTok’s links to the Chinese government.

While Project Liberty has said it wants to "decentralize" social media, its leaders’ political leanings are likely to raise questions.

The group’s founder, McCourt, has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats, including $100,000 to the Biden Victory Fund in 2020 and $100,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2023, according to Federal Election Commission records. He contributed $35,500 to the Democratic National Committee in 2020, $50,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016, and donated to over a dozen state Democratic parties in the last presidential cycle, including Michigan, Florida, and Arizona.

A spokeswoman for McCourt declined to comment about how the group plans to handle issues of political speech and misinformation. "Project Liberty is a non-partisan organization dedicated to building digital infrastructure that protects data and gives people a voice, choice, and stake in a better internet," his spokeswoman Anna Feagan told the Free Beacon.

Project Liberty’s board includes Daniel Sachs, the vice chair of Soros’s Open Society Foundations; former Bill Clinton aide Eric Liu; and Jeremy Heimans, a former employee who went on to found a left-wing activist group called Avaaz.

In 2021, Avaaz lobbied Congress to "investigate Facebook’s role in the insurrection," arguing that the social media site should have done more to ban pro-Trump "misinformation" ahead of the 2020 election.

Project Liberty’s president, Tomicah Tillemann, is a former speechwriter for Hillary Clinton and worked under Biden when he was on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

McCourt founded Project Liberty in 2021 with the stated goal of decentralizing social media and giving users more control over their own data. The group’s website says it is "committed to building a better internet—where the data is ours to manage, the platforms are ours to govern, and the power is ours to reclaim."

Congress passed a law last month requiring TikTok’s Chinese-owned parent company, ByteDance, to sell the platform by next January or face commercial restrictions in the United States.

McCourt, who made his money in real estate development, isn’t the only politically connected investor eyeing TikTok. Donald Trump’s former Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin also said he was working to organize a bid in March.

McCourt’s ex-wife is Jamie McCourt, a Republican who served as Trump’s former ambassador to France. Their marriage ended in a highly combative divorce in 2011.