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December 5, 2003


George Soros: Why I Gave

Soros writes an editorial for the Washington Post, justifying his $10 million donation to America Coming Together, and his $2.5 million donation to MoveOn.org. He says that he is complying with both the letter and the spirit of campaign contribution limitation laws, that his donations are "a pittance" when compared to conservative giving, and that he and other donors are simply trying to return our country to its "rightful place in the world."

The best part of the piece is his description of Bush's fundraising strategy, which centers on the dorkily-named giving categories of "Pioneers", who collect $100,000 in contributions from their friends (in legal $2,000 increments) and "Rangers", who collect $200,000. Can't you just see these people getting special certificates or plaques declaring them "Rangers In the Fight for American Supremacy"? These kinds of donations, Soros says, are essentially identical to the enormous corporate contributions that used to be legal, since they come from the same funding sources, both personal and corporate. His donations, however, are given to unaffiliated organizations, not to a party or candidate. He writes, "I have contributed to independent organizations that by law are forbidden to coordinate their activities with the political parties or candidates. That law minimizes or eliminates the ability to purchase influence in exchange for my contribution. Moreover, I don't seek such influence. My contributions are made in what I believe to be the common interest."

This distinction sounds a little nit-picky and deceptive, but he's totally right. America Coming Together does work for the common interest: their mission is to get more people registered to vote, regardless of party, though they also say they are "mobilizing voters to defeat Bush." What Soros and America Coming Together and the Republican Party all know is that when more people vote, Democrats have a better chance of winning. If democracy and participation start to work more effectively in this country, Bush will probably not get re-elected. (I can't tell you how happy and vindicated this makes me feel about the democratic process.) Soros is using this knowledge and his donations to ultimately benefit the Democrat party, but only indirectly. His transparency about his intentions also put him morally ahead of all these Pioneers and Rangers and their corporate checks.

categories: Politics
posted by amy at 12:41 PM | #


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