Alarmed at the very real prospect of Mitt Romney becoming the 45th president of the United States, radical philanthropist George Soros has forsaken his oft-repeated vow to quit electoral politics.
After Mr. Romney pulled roughly even with President Obama in national polling late last month, the pre-eminent funder of the left committed to plunking down an extra $1.5 million on re-electing Mr. Obama and helping congressional Democrats.
Mother Jones magazine recently described Mr. Soros as "panicked" at Mr. Romney's rise in the polls in an online article that was pulled down just hours later. The magazine's 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Foundation for National Progress, has taken in grants from Mr. Soros' philanthropies Open Society Institute ($225,000 since 2008) and Foundation to Promote Open Society ($100,000 since 2010).
A currency speculator and convicted inside trader, Mr. Soros wrings his hands between elections, telling the media he is exiting electoral politics. Although the level of his campaign contributions can fluctuate significantly from cycle to cycle, he never carries out his threat to withdraw. For this, the activist left is eternally grateful.
King of the Wall Street hustlers, this man, with an estimated net worth of $22 billion, can no more avoid electoral politics than a hungry shark can avoid eating a delicious seal for lunch. Both Mr. Soros and sharks thrive when blood is in the water, as the people of the United Kingdom know only too well. Through a series of complex transactions in 1992, Mr. Soros "broke" the Bank of England and made more than $1 billion in profit in a single day. Britons with money in the bank paid a high price for this Soros maneuver, as their purchasing power was diminished dramatically overnight.
A Soros spokesman said the financier will give $1 million to Priorities USA Action, the super PAC that generated the TV ad in which an overreaching ex-steelworker, Joe Soptic, blamed his wife's tragic cancer death on Mr. Romney. Mr. Soros is splitting $500,000 between Majority PAC and House Majority PAC, both of which back Democrats seeking congressional office, the New York Times reports. In this cycle, Mr. Soros already has given $175,000 to House Majority PAC and $100,000 to Majority PAC.
The $1.5 million in new donations was announced at a luncheon in late September hosted by the Democracy Alliance, an invitation-only club for radical, left-wing plutocrats. (Former President Bill Clinton and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were in attendance.) Members of the Democracy Alliance have said they plan to give heavily to Democrats and the Obama campaign. Donations from members of the ultrasecretive group easily could reach $100 million or much more before Election Day, especially because other Democracy Alliance members are following Mr. Soros' lead.
To dispel gossip that he was dissatisfied with Mr. Obama, Mr. Soros emailed other Democracy Alliance luncheon guests, saying, "I fully support the re-election of President Obama." He added that he was "appalled by the Romney campaign, which is openly soliciting the money of the rich to starve the state of the money it needs to provide social services."
"Saturday Night Live" has mockingly referred to the billionaire donor as "owner" of the Democratic Party -- and for good reason. Mr. Soros previously underwrote a leftist scheme called the Secretary of State Project that aspired to rig elections from coast to coast. He also indirectly funded Occupy Wall Street and spent $27 million in 2004 in a failed attempt to defeat President George W. Bush.
So far in the 2012 election cycle, Mr. Soros has given small amounts to a handful of congressional candidates along with $20,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and $5,000 to the president's re-election campaign.
He has given $1 million to American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC headed by former conservative journalist David Brock. Other political action committees to receive funds from Mr. Soros this cycle include Mrs. Pelosi's PAC to the Future ($5,000), Campaign for Our Country ($5,000) and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund Inc. PAC ($5,000).
So it is obvious that despite his protestations, Mr. Soros is very much in the game this election season. When he wrestles with his conscience, his conscience always loses.
Terrence Scanlon is president of Capital Research Center, a Washington, D.C., think tank that studies the politics of philanthropy with a special emphasis on left-wing activist groups.