Crime rates in the United States are surging and it’s no secret why. In dozens of major cities district attorney (DA) offices and other chief prosecutor positions have been filled by left-wing “Soros prosecutors,” whose campaign coffers are often filled by George Soros. In just a few short years things like requesting low or no cash bail, declining to prosecute certain misdemeanors, and refusing to pursue the death penalty have become the norm thanks to the faddish and well-financed movement.
As conditions in cities worsen, thousands have rightfully pointed the finger at Soros and the many prosecutors he has directly backed, but another, under-appreciated financier is also partly to blame: Dustin Moskovitz.
Moskovitz’s philanthropic empire, the Open Philanthropy Network, reports spending over $207 million on grants for criminal justice reform initiatives, making Moskovitz an undeniably influential figure in the space. For reference, the largest estimates say that George Soros has given $40 million to support left-wing DA candidates. In all, Moskovitz’s funding for criminal justice reform has been distributed to nearly 200 different organizations of varying sizes and shapes across the entire country. While Soros attracts the headlines by giving to political action committees (PACs) and backing specific DA candidates, Moskovitz has avoided attention while building up an empire of nonprofits that provide the essential base building and policy support.
His most recent creation is Just Impact, established with a $50 million grant in 2021. Just Impact is a nonprofit organization that will “provide cost-free advising to high net worth donors” on how best to support left-wing criminal justice priorities. Because the group’s IRS disclosures are not yet public, not much is known about its activities, but the group is led by Chloe Cockburn, Moskovitz’s criminal-justice donor advisor extraordinaire.
Cockburn is the granddaughter of infamous British Communist Party leader Claud Cockburn and sister of the vocal left-wing actress, Olivia Wilde, and she certainly maintains the family tradition of left-wing radicalism. On the Just Impact blog, Cockburn has called for the abolition of the prison system, comparing it to 18th century slavery. She has also claimed that increasing concern about crime rates among voters was the result of a media hoax and applauded DAs who had pledged not to enforce state laws on abortion.
While Just Impact is Moskovitz’s shiniest new toy, he has given millions to other organizations.
The Tides Nexus
Moskovitz’s network has given $22 million to the Alliance for Safety and Justice, $11.8 million to The Justice Collaborative, $4.5 million to Fair and Just Prosecution, $3 million to the Alliance for Safety and Justice Action Fund, $2.5 million to the Community Justice Exchange, and $2.4 million to the Reform Jails and Community Reinvestment Initiative (Reform L.A. Jails). While these groups all pretend to be separate and independent organizations, these are all actually part of the Tides Nexus, a nonprofit “fiscal sponsorship” network that houses all kinds of left-wing pop-up activist organizations in order to provide back-office support and skirt IRS disclosure rules.
Each of these organizations operates under the Tides umbrella and advocates for left-wing criminal justice policies in different ways. Alliance for Safety and Justice, for example, organizes voters in support of left-wing DA candidates and ballot initiatives. Fair and Just Prosecution offers training seminars and resources to DA’s looking to bring “progressive” policies to their own cities. The Community Justice Exchange is more policy and strategy oriented, proclaiming on its homepage that it is “organizing to end all forms of incarceration, criminalization, and surveillance.” The result is an outward appearance of broad grassroot support, while the whole operation is managed behind the scenes out of the same office with funding from a handful of donors.
Anything For the Cause
As part of his crusade against the American status quo, Moskovitz has also funded a number of extremely radical organizations. The Community Justice Exchange and its commitment to “[ending] all forms of incarceration” has already been mentioned, but it is far from the only one. Moskovitz’s network reports giving nearly $6 million to the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. On its homepage the National Council writes that “Our mission was and still is, to end the incarceration of women and girls.”
Other recipients are a smidge less radical, but a lot more controversial.
Moskovitz’s wife, Cari Tuna, gave $2 million to Shaun King’s Real Justice PAC. King is a polarizing activist who falsely accused a police officer of rape on social media leading to thousands of death threats against the officer, has been accused of lying about his background as a biracial person, and once claimed that all depictions of “white Jesus” need to be torn down as racist propaganda. King has also been accused of using his PACs to enrich himself and his friends, including reports that King charged the purchase of a $40k thoroughbred show dog to his Grassroots Law PAC in 2022.
Moskovitz also granted $1 million to Trap Heals, a for-profit entertainment and art company with ties to disgraced Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) founder Patrisse Cullors. Trap Heals, owned by the father of Cullors’s only child, was paid over $960,000 for consulting services by BLMGNF while Cullors was at its head in 2020.
Confusing Funding for CPAC Organizers
Most controversial of all, however, are the large payments Moskovitz has made to the American Conservative Union Foundation, the sponsor of the yearly Conservative Poltical Action Conference (CPAC). Open Philanthropy reports nearly $1 million in grants to the American Conservative Union Foundation since 2016 for their criminal justice reform program.
CPAC organizers and speakers have repeatedly voiced opposition to left-wing criminal justice reform and defunding the police, so the funding collaboration of Moskovitz is an oddity. Perhaps Moskovitz, who regularly donates to groups that want to “end all forms of incarceration, criminalization, and surveillance,” believes that by pulling enough strings at CPAC he can dupe conservatives into backing off. Whatever the reasons, his funding of two parties working toward directly opposite ends is certainly a headscratcher.
More to Criminal Justice Reform Than Meets the Eye
Whatever the future may hold, rising crime will seemingly remain a hot topic with voters, at least for the 2022 midterms and possibly through 2024. It is important, then, for people to know the forces at work in this debate and the sources of the money behind them. Even though the issues and arguments around criminal justice reform are complicated, one thing about the support behind them is clear: The left-wing reform camp is nowhere near as grassroots as it pretends to be.