Progressives led by Soros have trained their sights on electing prosecutors recent election cycles as a strategy to reform the criminal justice system. Besides supporting the presidential and congressional campaigns, a report published by Politico on 08/30/2016 show the longtime Democratic donor George Soros offered more than $3 million to support 7 candidates vying for district attorney positions in 6 states. The move aims to reduce the racial disparity seen in majority of rulings and promoting the application of diversionary programs instead of the preferred trial route for drug offenders. The push has seen the Soros support candidates from diverse racial makeup, including African Americans and Hispanics. Funding was disseminated through a number of Super PAC’s and Soros own 527 Group.
In the recent election, the groups campaigned for the election of candidates in Florida, Texas, Illinois, New Mexico, Louisiana and Mississippi. The state organizations which received the fund’s include the Illinois based Civic Participation Action Fund, Florida Safety and Justice Group. The other liberal group, Color of Change was tasked with identifying potentially interesting district attorney seats. The clarion call is informed by the realization that prosecutors across the country enjoy great discretion and power in the current judicial system. Added to this fact, laws have traditionally been passed to strengthen rather than shake the district attorney’s prosecutorial powers. Andrea Steele, the president of Democratic women candidate training organization, Emerge America, said the entry of liberal groups into the fray served a wake-up call to progressives.
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The 527 group backed Aramis Ayala for state attorney position in Central Florida against the incumbent Jeff Ashton, whose jurisdiction covers over 1.5 million people in two Orlando counties. TV advertisements aired in support for Ayala touted her plans to eliminate bias and treat convicts fairly regardless of their racial backgrounds while questioning the opponent’s controversial positions. In 2015, George Soros backed candidate James Stewart with a campaign donation of $over $900,000 to unseat the then Louisiana state attorney Dhu Thompson. Activist and political operatives with progressive inclinations believe the changes will come following the recent news coverage involving police and African American shootings. Many see the failure of the judicial systems to sentence the officers implicated in the shootings as a huge concern.
However, the long term strategy will be to push for a fair treatment instead of punishment for drug users, along with a reduction in the soaring prisoner population in the country. George Soros support for races outside the traditional presidential and senatorial seat began over 1 year ago when he offered more than $1 million to several Safety and Justice groups. The move led to the election of new district attorney’s in Mississippi and Louisiana. George Soros is a self made billionaire who has built a solid reputation for savvy investing and support various philanthropic efforts targeting justice, education and public accountability. George Soros’ organization the Open Societies Foundations operates in over 100 countries around the world. Soros has also written over 10 books on a host of subjects.