In my column on the SEIU today, I mentioned how the George Soros-funded group, Americans Coming Together, was hit with a $775,000 fine by the Federal Election Commission – the third largest civil penalty levied in the panel’s history — for gross campaign finance violations.
Yesterday, in little-noticed news, California’s campaign finance panel fined Soros directly for failing to disclose a $350,000 contribution that was funneled through the Drug Policy Action Network to help fund a ballot measure undermining the state’s Three Strikes law for criminals.
The California regulators noted that Soros had been a repeat offender, yet fined him a paltry $8,000!
Here’s an excerpt from the panel’s summary report:
Respondent George Soros, a resident of New York, is the Chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC, an author, and an active philanthropist. During the second semi-annual reporting period of 2004 and before, Respondent was and had been a substantial donor to the Drug Policy Action Network (“DPAN”), a national non-profit organization, which, according to its website, promotes policy alternatives to the drug war that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. Among the numerous donations Respondent made to DPAN over time were two contributions totaling $500,000 solicited by DPAN to support “Fix Three Strikes- Yes on 66, a Coalition of Justice Advocates, Labor Organizations and Church Leaders (“Fix Three Strikes Committee”), a committee that was primarily formed to support a state measure appearing on the ballot in the November 2, 2004 general election.
DPAN utilized the funds collected from Respondent and two other significant contributors, along with funds from DPAN’s existing accounts, to make contributions to the Fix Three Strikes Committee. Respondent was aware that DPAN intended to contribute these funds to the Fix Three Strikes Committee. The Fix Three Strikes Committee reported the contributions as being made by Respondent Soros and disclosed DPAN as the intermediary for each contribution.
In this matter, the payments made to DPAN were understood to be contributions to be made to the Fix Three Strikes Committee. As such, Respondent’s initial payment of $150,000 was a “contribution” under the Political Reform Act (the “Act”), and qualified Respondent as a major donor committee. Additionally, the amount of the contribution triggered the Act’s electronic filing obligations. Respondent made the second contribution of $350,000 to DPAN during the late contribution reporting period, and therefore, was required to file a late contribution report in paper and electronic format. Respondent was also required to file a semi-annual campaign statement, commonly known as a “major donor campaign statement.”
For the purposes of this stipulation, Respondent’s violations are stated as follows:
COUNT 1: Respondent George Soros failed to timely disclose a $350,000 late contribution to the Fix Three Strikes Committee in a properly filed late contribution report, by the October 27, 2004 due date, in violation of Sections 84203, subdivision (a) and 84605, subdivision (b) of the Government Code.
COUNT 2: Respondent George Soros failed to timely file a semi-annual campaign statement by the January 31, 2005 due date, for the reporting period January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2004, in violation of Section 84200, subdivision (b) and 84605, subdivision (b) of the Government Code.
…Respondent has in the past been an active contributor in California politics, qualifying as a major donor committee and filing major donor campaign statements in 1996, 1999, and 2000. In 2002, respondent failed to timely file a late contribution report, and received a warning letter from the Enforcement Division in January 2003.
An $8,000 fine for a billionaire with a shady campaign finance history.
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