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George Soros backs pro-Democratic 'super PAC'

May 07, 2012|By Matea Gold
  • George Soros last month in New York.
George Soros last month in New York. (Andrew H. Walker / Getty…)

WASHINGTON -- Liberal philanthropist and financial guru George Soros is donating $1 million to American Bridge 21st Century, a “super PAC” that serves as a opposition research clearinghouse for pro-Democratic groups, his spokesman announced Monday evening.

Soros’ donation, first reported by the New York Times, is his first major political contribution of the 2012 cycle. He gave $175,000 last year to super PACs backing Democratic congressional candidates.

Soros, whose worth is estimated at $22 billion by Forbes, is one of the most sought-after donors on the left. In 2004, he poured $27.5 million into groups such as the voter mobilization organization Americans Coming Together in an effort to defeat President George W. Bush

Since then, much of his political giving has been focused on voter education and outreach. Notably, the renowned hedge fund investor has yet to donate to Priorities USA Action, the super PAC backing President Obama’s reelection. That group has struggled to match the fundraising of its conservative counterparts, stymied by a distaste among liberal donors for financing outside groups that have purely electoral aims.

American Bridge, which does candidate research and tracking, and its tax-exempt arm raised roughly $9 million through the end of March.

Spokesman Michael Vachon said in a statement that Soros “is focusing his political giving in 2012 on grass-roots organizing and holding conservatives accountable for the flawed policies they promote.” Along with the $1 million to American Bridge, Soros is giving $1 million to America Votes, an organization that helps coordinate the political work of groups on the left.

“Both groups are part of a progressive infrastructure, or center-left establishment, that plays an increasingly important role in elections,” Vachon added.

David Brock, founder of American Bridge, said his organization aimed to have a lasting impact after 2012.

“Thanks to investments by progressive leaders like Mr. Soros, we have been able to build a cutting-edge organization that we will continue to build upon in order to keeping providing effective and efficient services to the progressive movement,” he said in a statement.

matea.gold@latimes.com

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