The campaign to re-elect President George W. Bush has taken aim at
his 10th rival in the race – non-candidate George Soros.
Staffers fired off an e-mail to Republican supporters in an effort to
counter the billionaire-financier’s campaign to oust the incumbent,
reports the Independent.
reported the Hungarian-born philanthropist seeks to raise up to $75
million and has pledged more than $15 million of his own money to
prevent Bush from staying in the White House.
He committed an unprecedented $10 million to “Americans Coming
Together,” or ACT, which plans to mobilize voters in 17 states regarded
as battlegrounds in the 2004 election.
reported Soros also pledged up to $5 million to mobilize anti-Bush
activists and voters online. He and other wealthy donors are financing
the Internet political-mobilization project MoveOn.org, founded by a
California millionaire in 1998 to defend President Clinton from
As part of its “down with Bush” campaign, the group recently
launched a competition to find the best 30-second television spot that
highlights perceived Bush failures. The winning spot is targeted to air
during the week of Bush’s State of the Union address. The Independent
reports the “Bush in 30 Seconds” competition is partly run by Soros’
son, Jonathan Soros.
Soros distributes $400 million annually through his Open Society Institute.
In 1992, he reportedly garnered $1 billion in one day of currency
trading that caused the value of the British pound to plummet.
Subsequently known as “the man who broke the Bank of England,”
Soros says he wants to be known as the man who brought down the
government of President Bush.
Motivation for the initiative is fueled by his contention the Bush
administration is mishandling its power.
“The struggle for a global open society must be fought primarily in
the United States, because the United States has clearly become the
dominant power in the world,” he said in a June interview, according to
the National Post. “I feel that the current U.S. administration is abusing
its power by trying to increase that power instead of using it to try and
create a more peaceful and equitable world.”
Soros contends the administration, particularly Attorney General
John Ashcroft along with Bush, has used the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to
expand its authority and erode civil liberties.
“You pass the USA Patriot Act without proper discussion,” said
Soros in a PBS television interview in September. “Anyone who opposed
it was accused of giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. I think we’ve
gone off the rail in this country. Lawmakers didn’t even get a copy of the
bill. They couldn’t even read it before it was passed.”
The financier has been especially critical of the Iraq war and the
Bush administration’s foreign policy.
“I find the foreign policy of the Bush administration exceedingly
dangerous,” he told a University of Pennsylvania audience in April 2002,
when the United States was wrapping up the first volley in the war on
terrorism against the Taliban in Afghanistan. “Although the terrorist threat
is real and must be defended against, they are going about it in the
“There are some people in the Bush administration who have the
same mentality as Arafat or [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon. I can
name names, like Ashcroft, Cheney and Rumsfeld, although that is
considered impolite,” he added, according to an article on the event in
the university paper.
The London daily reports the Bush camp e-mail message warns:
“Liberal special interests, led by billionaire currency trader George Soros,
are raising millions in soft, unregulated money to defeat President Bush.”
The e-mail implies the grass-roots groups Soros is backing plan to
accept, or have already accepted funds from abroad in violation of
federal election law.
“To beat these billionaire liberals and the flood of foreign money
they’re encouraging, we need your help today,” reads the e-mail,
according to the Independent.
MoveOn.org denies it has been taking money from Bush foes from
The president has so far raised $110 million for the primary
campaign, and has stated he seeks to raise $170 million for the general
Soros maintains he’s simply trying to level the playing field, asserting
“unchecked capitalism” fails to provide social justice.
“We need to maintain law and order,” Soros said, according to the
Canadian National Post. “We need to maintain peace in the world. We
need to protect the environment. We need to have some degree of
social justice, equality of opportunity. The markets are not designed to
take care of those needs.”
Born in 1930, Soros left his native Hungary in 1947 to study at the
London School of Economics, then went to the U.S. nine years later
where he began building his fortune through foreign-currency
According to his website,
he has been active as a philanthropist since 1979, when he began
providing funds to help black students attend the University of Cape
Town in apartheid South Africa.
Last year he was fined more than $2 million by a Paris court for
insider trading but plans to appeal the conviction.
He also has been accused of unfair practices in other foreign
markets, including developing countries. Former Malaysian Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad claims Soros bears some responsibility for Asia’s
1997 economic crisis.