Hungarian-American hedge fund manager turned-political philanthropist George Soros has committed $20 million to kick off a broader fundraising campaign by Democratic donors and activists worth as much as $100 million to provide ‘grassroots support’ for Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill, Axios reports, citing Open Society US director Tom Perriello.
“Every initiative proposed by President Biden has broad public support. But we’ve seen popular reforms get demonized before by partisans and special interests, and we’re not going to let that happen. Facts don’t always win without some real muscle put behind those facts in front of the American people,” Perriello said.
Axios says the $20 million is expected to ‘activate’ many of the same ‘grassroots progressive organizations’ which sprung up in the latter part of the 2010s to challenge then-president Donald Trump’s agenda, with the money expected to be distributed to grassroots organizing campaigns, not paid advertising.
“We hope this effort on the part of organizers and donors will give the Biden administration and Congress the assurance that they need to go as big, bold and fast as possible,” Leah Hunt-Hendrix, cofounder of Way to Win, a donor network which pledged nearly $60 million to the vote-by-mail campaign during last year’s presidential election, said.
Republican House and Senate leaders have expressed vocal opposition to Biden’s infrastructure spending plans, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying bluntly that the proposal would not get support “from our side,” and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy characterizing the plans as a “kitchen sink’ of wasteful progressive demands.” On the Sunday talk show circuit, Senator Roy Blunt said the GOP would be prepared to consider spending on roads, bridges, ports, airports, underground water systems and broadband, but would not pony up the money for the other 70 percent of the president’s $2.3 trillion spending agenda.
Biden Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm warned Sunday that Democratic lawmakers could push the bill through Congress without GOP support if necessary.
In the financial world, Soros is best-known for his currency speculation against the British pound in 1992, which earned him his first billion dollars in profit, but cost the British economy billions of pounds in losses. In 2002, he was convicted of insider trading by a French court and fined 2.2 million euros. The conviction was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights in 2011.