Politics

Group Backed by Liberal George Soros Posts Uptick in Lobbying

Open Society Policy Center spent record $16.1 million in 2017

Billionaire George Soros, left, attends a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in November 2008. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Open Society Policy Center, the lobbying arm of liberal billionaire George Soros’ philanthropic network, reported spending a record sum to influence federal issues during the first year of the Trump administration.

The group disclosed spending a total of $16.1 million on federal lobbying in 2017, with the majority of that coming in the last three months of the year, according to a report filed with Congress. The Soros group disclosed spending $10.3 million in the fourth quarter.

The most the group had previously disclosed on federal lobbying was about $12.4 million in 2014. Reports covering lobbying activity from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 were due in Congress by midnight Monday.

The group also reported lobbying on a bill that would withhold funds for U.S. military action against North Korea unless authorized by Congress. Much of the lobbying money included in the fourth quarter report reflects grants that the organization made to other groups that conduct lobbying on a variety of issues.

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“We make different grants each year depending on what is happening in Congress and there was a lot going in 2017, especially with respect to protect immigrants and refugees, preserve fairness in the tax code, advocate for disaster relief for Puerto Rico and criminal justice reform, and promote a progressive U.S. foreign policy,” said Jonathan Kaplan, a spokesman for the Open Society Policy Center.

The organization disclosed that three employees — Lora Lumpe, Alex Johnson and Jacob Marx — lobbied the Senate, House and officials at the State Department during the final three months of last year.

The Open Society Policy Center’s fourth quarter lobbying report said those lobbyists focused on the fiscal 2018 national defense authorization law and a measure that would restrict the use of nuclear weapons.

Also among its slate of policy issues were the fiscal 2018 State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill dealing with State Department funding and a bill to amend a law aimed at combating human trafficking.

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