Amid a backlash against George Soros’ funding of progressive causes in countries across the globe, the billionaire’s lobbying group has significantly increased its activities, according to disclosure forms.
The forms, first reported on by the Washington Free Beacon, reveal that the Open Society Policy Center (OSPC), Soros’ Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit advocacy firm, has spent nearly as much money on lobbying efforts in the first half of 2017 as it did over the entire course of 2016.
In 2016 OSPC spent a total $5.6 million. In the first two quarters of 2017, it spent $4.6 million.
A large part of OSPC’s spending appears to have been targeted against the Hungarian government’s efforts to combat the influence of Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the organization through which he funds radical left-wing causes worldwide.
From April to June, the group reported lobbying 17 issues, four of which involved Hungary and dealt directly with Hungarian efforts to limit Soros’ activities.
The OSPC lobbied against both Hungary’s Higher Education Act, which seeks to regulate Soros’ Central European University in Budapest, and for the congressional bill H.R. 394, Supporting International Academic Freedom, which calls to protect Soros’ American-accredited Central European University from regulation. The bill addresses “discrimination or harassment by foreign governments.”
The third effort to subvert Hungary’s attempt to protect itself from outside meddling came in the form of OSPC’s lobbying against Hungary’s Bill on Foreign Funded Organizations in Hungary, which requires foreign-funded NGOs to declare themselves and register with the government.
This was accompanied by support for H.Res. 353: Supporting a democratic Hungary and reaffirming the long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship between the United States and Hungary.
“His lobbying actions deserve all the scrutiny they get and more,” Eddie Zipperer, an assistant political science professor at Georgia Military College, told LifeZette.
“It’s his legal right to spend his money how he pleases even if it is to purchase the political power that — in a republic — belongs to the people,” he continued. “But he does not have the right to engage in such a policy grab without scrutiny.”
Hungary introduced its legislation targeting foreign-funded NGOs in March, and its law designed to regulate Central European University in April.
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It is not the only country to try to fight Soros’ global influence. His organizations are banned in Russia, and efforts have been made to limit his activities in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovakia. Soros’ attempts to interfere in nations’ internal politics have also been criticized directly by the Polish and Israeli governments.
Soros “is the Godfather of globalism and seeks to destroy national sovereignty in multiple countries,” said Zipperer. “Every day more and more people across the world are waking up to the fact that billionaires, especially Soros, are using their money to recreate the world in their image.”
Of course, Soros’ efforts at protecting his legacy could backfire in the long run. “In a way, this sort of lobbying is destroying itself,” Zipperer observed. “The more it goes on, and the more obvious it is, the more populist movements gain power — as we saw throughout 2016 and into this year.”
(photo credit, homepage image: World Economic Forum, Flickr; photo credit, article image: Jaqen, Wikimedia)