Profile: George Soros

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

Photo: Getty Images

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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 MoveOn.org. 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.”

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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