George Soros' Lobbying Efforts Have Quietly Skyrocketed in Recent Years

Billionaire has spent $35 million lobbying Congress since 2013

George Soros
George Soros / AP
January 10, 2017

Liberal billionaire George Soros has quietly poured tens of millions more than usual into lobbying Congress in recent years, disclosure forms show.

Soros' lobbying efforts have jumped more than four-fold since 2013 compared to the previous 10 years combined.

The Open Society Policy Center, a 501(c)4 nonprofit that is separate from Soros' Open Society Foundations, is a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. that focuses on advocacy efforts.

Between 2002 and 2012, the policy center reported spending $19,120,000 on lobbying for legislation and policy efforts with a number of government agencies and Congress.

The group averaged $1,912,000 on lobbying per year during this time period.

However, the group increased its lobbying expenditures from $3.4 million in 2012 to $11 million in 2013. The bulk of this lobbying increase was said to be due to the group's push for "comprehensive immigration reform."

The policy center increased lobbying funds yet again the next year, spending $12.4 million. The policy center spent $8.2 million on lobbying in 2015 and the comparatively low sum of $3.7 million in 2016—an amount still higher than any year between 2002-12.

From 2013 to 2016, the group spent a total of $35 million on lobbying activities, averaging $8.8 million per year. This constituted an increase of nearly $6.9 million per year from the yearly average between 2002-12.

"OSPC engages on a range of issues in Congress, which have been fairly consistent over time," a spokesman for the policy center told the Washington Free Beacon in an email statement. "The level of spending on those issues tends to rise and fall depending on their state of play in Congress."

"During the period you ask about, Congress debated legislation on immigration reform, criminal justice reform, disability rights, and several national security and human rights issues, so there was more activity on our part," they continued. "Overall, the number of OSPC staff in Washington and our level of activity on most issues in the past five years has been stable."

Disclosure forms filed with the House of Representatives and Senate show that the group also hired outside lobbying firms to help their efforts, including Orion Strategies, the Mitchell Firm, and Glover Park Group, all D.C.-based lobbying groups.

Last year, the group had three lobbyists working on three foreign relations issues.

The lobbyists worked on five different bills in front of Congress including the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017, the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Appropriations Act of 2017, the Department of State Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act of 2016, and the Department of State Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2017.

From 2013 to 2015, the group lobbied the White House, Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Office of Management and Budget, and the Departments of Commerce and Defense.

The Open Society Policy Center, which receives funds from Soros' Open Society Institute and Alliance for Open Society International Inc., gives generous grants every year to liberal advocacy groups.

According to the policy center's Form 990s from 2013 and 2014, the most recently available tax documents, it received $26,000,000 in contributions during the two-year span.

The group invests in projects that push for comprehensive immigration reform and battle "the criminalization or people of color, police brutality, and mass incarceration." It also backs ventures to build progressive media outlets.

The policy center disbursed millions to groups such as the Advocacy Fund, an organization that helps to navigate "lobbying, political and funding rules to win campaigns for social change."

Hacked documents released last year from the Open Society Institute show that Soros lobbied the Obama administration to accept over 100,000 refugees per year.

Soros also tried to influence a Supreme Court ruling on illegal immigration, according to a February 2016 memo.

The Hungarian-born billionaire wrote to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011 asking for intervention into Albania's political unrest.

Published under: George Soros , Lobbyists