Billionaire George Soros is well-known in both the business and political landscapes. He is a strong supporter of the Democratic Party, having contributed millions of dollars to a wide variety of different campaigns and organizations over the years. He made major headlines in 2004 on opensocietyfoundations.org when he contributed more than $27 million in opposition of George W. Bush. His support of then candidate John Kerry was largely pushed by a strong opposition to the Iraq War, amongst other things. This has earned him the ire of many conservatives.
After Bush took the White House Soros took a less active role. His political contributions, while still considerable, decreased. But according to reports by the Federal Election Commission this period of relative silence is over. Soros has quietly re-asserted himself as a leader in contributions and fundraising for the Democratic Party. He has thrown his support solidly behind Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, urging other major contributors to do the same. His efforts have even gone beyond the presidential election, reinforcing several campaigns for Democrats to retake the Senate.
Soros’s personal wealth is estimated somewhere around $24.9 billion, earned through years of investment and, sometimes risky, trading. Whatever the source, Soros’ $8 million boost to Hillary’s campaign was likely very well-received. Interviews show that his recent re-emergence into the political field is a result of his firm belief in the candidate and an equally intense distrust of her opponent.
Read more: George Soros rises again
But the value of Soros’s support is more than the amount of any one paycheck. Instead it stems from his ability to generate support from other high-level donors. Besides backing Democratic candidates George Soros has committed his resource to social causes, such as a non-profit called the Voting Rights Trust that works to combat voter restriction laws and a mobilization effort known as America Votes. According to close observers the billionaire’s willingness to put his money into the political arena actually stems from a desire to counteract what he sees as the negative influence major corporate donors have on the Republican party. Naturally there have been accusations of hypocrisy leveled against him in that regard. During the “off years” following his failed opposition to the Bush Campaign Soros redirected his attention to more philanthropic organizations.
Soros is currently 85 years-old. Initially born in Hungary, Soros endured both an invasion by Nazi Germany during World War II as well as years of oppressive Communist regimes. Eventually he left Hungary, settling in England. He studied at the London School of Economics and after graduating made his way to the United States. He made his first ventures into the world of philanthropy in the 1970’s, putting funds into a program that would help young black students study at Cape Town University in Africa. One of Soros’ largest projects is the Open Societies Foundation. The group is active across more than 100 different countries. It’s core philosophies are the result of Soros’s own experiences and observations with oppressive regimes. As such the Open Societies Foundation has spent millions over the years, working to promote Human Rights, Democratic Values, and Government Transparency.