George Soros's first disclosed political donations of the 2022 cycle are out, giving an early glimpse into the liberal megadonor's spending priorities now that Democrats regained power in Washington, D.C.
Soros's only disclosed donations during the first quarter of 2021 were to two of the party's newest faces, first-term senators Maggie Hassan (D., N.H.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D., Nev.), as well as its oldest, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.). Soros gave the maximum allowed $5,600 to Hassan, $2,900 to Cortez Masto, and $7,900 total to Leahy's campaign and PAC.
All three recipients are up for reelection next year. Hassan and Cortez Masto have both launched reelection campaigns and are top targets of Republicans, who need to gain one seat this cycle to regain control over the upper chamber. Leahy, on the other hand, is 81 years old and has yet to announce whether he will run for reelection. If he retires, it could put another state on the map for Republicans.
Republicans will likely make the Democratic senators answer for taking contributions from Soros, a billionaire who has become synonymous with big money on the left. Soros is the cofounder of the Democracy Alliance, a secretive donor club for liberal elites that has been used to beef up outside groups that support the Democratic Party. A Soros-funded dark money organization, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, is currently working to pressure these and other Democratic senators on a variety of left-wing issues, including abandoning the legislative filibuster.
Accepting thousands of dollars from one of the biggest dark money donors in world history potentially complicates Senate Democrats' top legislative priority, the For the People Act, which Democrats argue would eliminate loopholes that allow nonprofits and organizations like Soros's Democracy Alliance to spend millions of dollars without disclosure.
Republicans view Hassan as particularly vulnerable on dark money hypocrisy.
"After lamenting the influence of special interest groups in Washington for years, Senator Hassan has now happily accepted contributions from the biggest liberal influence-peddler of them all, George Soros," National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman T.W. Arrighi told the Washington Free Beacon in a statement. According to Arrighi, the Soros contribution is emblematic of a larger shift to the left by Hassan since she was first elected in 2016, when Soros also donated to her. "Hassan has lost touch with New Hampshire," Arrighi said, adding that "the Maggie Hassan of six years ago would not recognize herself today."
As Republicans look to next year's elections, they could end up running a trio of current and former governors against the Soros-funded incumbents. New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu, Vermont governor Phil Scott, and former Nevada governor Brian Sandoval have all been mentioned as possible Senate candidates, even though none have formally announced.