Give George Soros his due. He knows how to get political results.
Rather than waste time and money convincing state legislatures and governors to enact laws decriminalizing offenses, loosening bail requirements, and making it tougher to send bad guys to jail, Mr. Soros is skipping straight to the office that enforces the law—district attorney. Political-action committees he bankrolls are pouring money into the campaigns of left-wing candidates who, once elected as prosecutors, can implement soft-on-crime policies by administrative fiat.
District-attorney races are traditionally low-budget affairs, so influencing their outcome doesn’t cost much. Most big cities and populous counties are reliably Democratic, so these offices often are decided in primaries, which are smaller and less expensive than general elections. Showering left-wing candidates with hundreds of thousands of dollars is often enough to dramatically alter how justice is administered in a jurisdiction with millions of citizens.
Using this model, PACs largely funded by Mr. Soros have donated more than $22 million to bankroll the election of at least 23 district attorneys, according to data collected by the Capital Research Center and the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund. These prosecutors serve cities or counties that have a combined population of 38.4 million Americans. His money has helped put prosecutors in office from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, St. Louis to the Virginia suburbs of Washington, Manhattan to Chicago. Four of the five most populous counties in Texas have prosecutors these Soros-funded PACs backed.
But an action in politics can provoke a reaction. Aroused citizens in affected communities—including some of the nation’s most liberal cities—are saying enough is enough. The election of antipolice, anti-law-and-order prosecutors often has led to increases in violent crime and a growing sense among ordinary citizens that their communities are less safe and quality of life is worsening.
Consider last month’s recall of San Francisco’s district attorney, Chesa Boudin. The antirecall effort received indirect support from Mr. Soros by way of a PAC funded by the Smart Justice California Action Fund, to which he has given $3.65 million, according to the Washington Free Beacon. Mr. Boudin was ousted with 60% of the vote by San Franciscans fed up with feces and needles on their streets, a rising tide of hate crimes against Asian-Americans, and frequent brazen snatch-and-grab thefts everywhere from pharmacies to luxury stores. Now there’s another recall effort underway in California for Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, who got off to a bad start by establishing a policy of never seeking the death penalty or trying a minor as an adult, no matter how heinous the crime.
There’s also a new national organization that seeks to counter the Soros strategy. The Protecting Americans Action Fund is organized by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, a Republican former local prosecutor, and led by an impressive board of three state attorneys general, two county prosecutors, and a pair of former U.S. attorneys. The fund will help law-and-order prosecutors get into office in key counties and stay there.
PAAF is backing Cyndi Carrasco’s bid for prosecutor of Marion County, Ind., which includes Indianapolis. The daughter of legal immigrants from Mexico, she served as state inspector general before becoming deputy general counsel and ethics adviser for Gov. Eric Holcomb. Her opponent, incumbent Democrat Ryan Mears, refuses to prosecute certain drug crimes, won’t charge minors accused of nonviolent offenses, and presided over two record years of murders in 2020 and 2021.
PAAF will play defense in Tarrant County, Texas, home to Fort Worth and Arlington, where the incumbent GOP district attorney is retiring. Republicans nominated Phil Sorrells, a criminal-court judge and former prosecutor. He’ll face Democrat Tiffany Brooks, who surprisingly beat a Soros-backed candidate, Albert Roberts, in her primary. Mr. Roberts got nearly $700,000 from Mr. Soros via the Texas Justice and Public Safety PAC but spent only around $34,000 of it, husbanding the rest for the fall election, in which he won’t compete. It’ll be interesting to see if the unspent portion of that donation goes to Ms. Brooks.
If PAAF puts more law-and-order prosecutors into office, it may achieve something greater too. As Democrats see PAAF’s victories, some of them may realize that their party’s antipolice and soft-on-crime attitudes are a political problem.
Take last November’s election of Ann Davison as Seattle city attorney—the first Republican elected citywide in 30 years. When Democrats lose the Emerald City, the times are changing. Who could have guessed George Soros would help spur a conservative renaissance in one of America’s bluest towns?