Profile: George Soros

Chairman, Soros Fund Management <br>New York, New York

Photo: Getty Images

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Were it not for George Soros, soft money might not be such a contentious issue this year.

One of the world’s wealthiest men, Soros has given away nearly $5 billion to help build democratic institutions in the former Soviet Union, Africa, and Asia. But in 2003, the New York financier adopted a new cause: defeating George W. Bush. Soros has gone so far as to quip that he would be willing to spend his entire fortune, of somebody could ‘guarantee’ an election-day victory over Bush.

In fact, Soros has contributed less than one percent of the $7 billion he is estimated to be worth. But that’s still an unprecedented figure. Soros has given tremendous amounts to several liberal advocacy organizations, commonly referred to as ‘527′ groups. He has contributed $5 million to America Coming Together, and more than $1 million to And he has pledged to pump another $7 million into the groups later this year. Already, Soros has contributed more than $6 million this campaign cycle. That is more than three times the amount contributed by the most generous single donor four years ago.

Such stratospheric largesse is something new for Soros. His past contributions to campaigns and candidates were relatively moderate. In the 2000 and 2002 campaign cycles combined, Soros gave a little less than $250,000 to federal candidates and causes — almost all of them Democrats. One notable exception: Sen. John McCain. Soros contributed $1,000 — at time the maximum allowable amount — to McCain’s candidacy in 1999.

Soros has not been shy about explaining his decision to invest so heavily in groups dedicated to defeating Bush. For nearly three years, Soros has been a passionate critic of the Bush Administration’s foreign policies, particularly the so-called “Bush doctrine” allowing for preemptive military strikes against foreign governments. Last year on ‘Now with Bill Moyers,’ Soros told David Brancaccio, “We have made a terrible mistake. And we have to pay the price. We have to pay the price. But we have to recognize that we’ve been very badly misled.

If we reject him, then we are effectively rejecting the Bush doctrine. Because he was elected on a platform of a more humble foreign policy. Then we can go back to a more humble foreign policy. And treat this episode as an aberration.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend