George Soros Spent $10.37 Million Lobbying During Second Quarter

Billionaire's lobbying efforts, a personal high, jumped by nearly $8 million from first quarter

George Soros / Getty Images
July 28, 2018

Liberal billionaire George Soros's nonprofit spent more on lobbying during the second quarter of 2018 than he has in any previous quarter, disclosure forms show.

The Open Society Policy Center, a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit that deals with domestic and international advocacy efforts that is a separate entity from Soros's Open Society Foundations, reported spending $10.37 million between April 1 and June 30—an increase of nearly $8 million from the first quarter of the year when the center reported spending $2.52 million on its lobbying efforts.

The increase in its lobbying activities can be attributed to the group adding a number of issues related to the nomination of Donald Lu as the U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan and the nomination of David B. Cornstein as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, where Soros was born.

The group's three in-house lobbyists additionally focused on a handful of issues related to North Korea such as the Preventing Preemptive Action in North Korea Act of 2017, the No Unconstitutional Strike against North Korea Act, the North Korea Nuclear Baseline Act, and issues related to security sector assistance, North Korea, and Defense in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019.

The policy center's scope also hit bills and issues spanning from the Disclosing Foreign Influence Act to the Bill on Foreign Funded Organizations in Hungary, a crackdown on foreign-funded organizations in that country.

Hungary's parliament approved a law that targeted foreign-funded NGOs last year saying that they could "threaten the country's political and economic interests and interfere with the functioning of its institutions." While the bill did not mention Soros directly by name, many Hungarian politicians have said they wanted to sweep Soros-tied organizations from the country.

Following the stepped up pressure, Soros's organizations said in May that it had become impossible for the Open Society Foundations to operate in Hungary and announced that they would be leaving. The group said that their operations would be moved to Berlin.

The $10.37 million Soros's Open Society Policy Center put towards lobbying during the second quarter of this year is slightly more than its previous high of $10.3 million from the fourth quarter of last year, which runs from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.

Soros's lobbying arm spent more ($16.2 million) during Trump's first year in office than it had any previous year.

"We make different grants each year depending on what is happening in Congress and there was a lot going in 2017: Protecting immigrants and refugees, preserving fairness in the tax code, advocating for criminal justice reform, pressing for disaster relief for Puerto Rico, and promoting a progressive U.S. foreign policy," Jonathan Kaplan, a spokesman for the Open Society Policy Center, previously told the Washington Free Beacon.

Between 2002 and 2012, the policy center reported spending $19,120,000 total on lobbying expenses, which averages to $1.9 million per year. Soros's lobbying budget shot up to $11 million in 2013. The most Soros had spent prior to last was $12.4 million in 2014.

Soros has spent $12.89 million during the first half of 2018, which could ultimately end up as another record year for the financier's lobbying activities.

The Open Society Policy Center did not return a request for comment by press time.