The Open Society Policy Centre (OSPC), the lobbying arm of George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, has spent more on federal lobbying during Donald Trump’s time in office than it did under two of his predecessors, new filings reveal.
A newly-released quarterly report filed with Congress shows the OSPC dished out as much as $15.9 million to push its agenda on Capitol Hill in the third quarter this year. This means the group has spent $24.4 million so far this year – more than it did throughout 2017.
According to the report, the OSPC donates to other organisations that can lobby on their own, and has two lobbyists working with both representatives and senators. They focused on issues relating to the Senate Department of Defence Appropriations Act, the National Defence Authorisation Act, the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, the Arms Export Control Act and the War Powers Act.
The OSPC spent $31.5 million in advocacy money last year, becoming the third-largest lobbying group in Washington, DC, and beating such major players as Boeing, Amazon and Alphabet.
This marked an almost 50-per cent increase from 2017, when the group’s lobbying spending totalled $16.2 million. The OSPC tends to ramp up its lobbying significantly in the fourth quarter of each year, and if this trend continues, 2019 is set to see record spending.
Forty-five months into the presidency of Donald Trump, who’s been working hard to repel many of the laws adopted under Barack Obama, the OSPC channelled $72 million to impact federal policies.
That’s 20 per cent more than the $56.65 million it spent between 2002 and 2016. The annual lobbying money gradually increased from $330,000 in 2002 to $12.4 million in 2014, taking a dip in the last two years of the Obama presidency. The numbers are only available since 2002, but the spending isn't likely to have been in the millions, given that annual lobbying by Soros Fund Management did not exceed $120,000 in 2000-2004, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics.
Tom Perriello, who leads US programmes at the Open Society Foundations, said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon that the group takes pride in “meeting the moral obligation of the moment to support organisations opposing hate filled attacks on synagogues, communities of colour, and immigrants and refugees.”
He added: “On some of the issues we work on, there historically had been a bipartisan consensus. But an administration that casually and callously refers to lynchings and coups and calls parts of the Constitution ‘phony' presents historic challenges.”