Update: See the updated version of this report here.
The Kyle Rittenhouse trial, the Jussie Smollet hoax, the attack on the Waukesha Christmas parade, the organized mob lootings in San Francisco, and now the indictment of the Baltimore district attorney have each attracted national attention and spotlighted an issue that many in law enforcement and politics have been warning of for years: the threat of activist district attorneys (DAs).
Specifically, the public imagination has been captured by the stories of activist DAs backed by the shadowy figure of George Soros.
Many have heard of him, and most understand that he spends millions on U.S. politics, but very few know the specifics. As a result, Soros has become something of a folklore monster whose reputation often exceeds reality.
But when it comes to Soros’s involvement in backing left-wing district attorneys, Soros really is the archvillain that rumor makes him out to be.
In fact, Soros’s influence on left-wing DA candidates is often wildly underestimated. Since 2016, when Soros first began to back the campaigns of district attorneys (presumably as part of the “Resistance” to the Trump administration), CRC researchers have tracked more than $29 million in funding from Soros through a personal network of political action committees (PACs) formed specifically to back left-wing DA candidates. In total, Soros cash has generously supported over 20 individual candidates, many of whom won their elections and remain in office today.
The Soros District Attorneys
In most states, the chief prosecutor in a state jurisdiction is called a district attorney, but some states use other titles. For example, in Virginia, the position is called commonwealth attorney. In St. Louis, the term is circuit attorney. In general, we will refer to all of them as district attorneys.
Below is a list by state and jurisdiction of every DA that CRC has discovered receiving Soros funding, and some notable details about each.
Diana Becton—Contra Costa County, California. Backed by $275,000 from Soros in 2018, Becton became the first woman and first African American elected to serve as DA for Contra Costa County. She is also one of the first in the position to have zero prior experience as a prosecutor. During Becton’s first years in office four Contra Costa cities made the list of the top 100 most dangerous cities in California in 2018, and both violent crime and property crime increased by several percent during 2019.
George Gascon—Los Angeles County, California. Soros has spent a combined $6 million on California DA races, much of it wasted on failed candidates, but almost half was spent on the successful campaign of George Gascon for Los Angles DA. Soros was the largest spender in the race, and Gascon won easily.
Since the election, his implementation of left-wing policies led to a crime wave that has became the stuff of legend. Homicide rates soared, organized shoplifting sprees ravaged the city, trains were stopped and ransacked by mobs of looters. Under Gascon’s watch the city of Los Angles has rapidly become a national disgrace.
Monique Worrell—Ninth Judicial Circuit (Orange and Osceola Counties), Florida. Monique Worrell is the second Soros candidate to become state attorney for Orange and Osceola Counties. Her predecessor, Aramis Ayala, was a “long-shot candidate” elected in 2016 with the help of more than $1.3 million in spending by the Florida Safety and Justice PAC. Ayala immediately earned a reputation for her activist approach, which led to her removal from multiple high-profile murder cases by two different Republican governors. During Ayala’s tenure, violent crime increased dramatically, with murders increasing by 26 percent during 2020.
After Ayala left office to run for Congress, Worrell filled her shoes, with $1 million from Soros’s Democracy PAC surging into the race at the last minute to help her claim victory against her moderate opponent in 2020.
Darius Pattillo—Henry County, Georgia. Receiving just under $150,000 from Soros through the Georgia Safety and Justice PAC, Patello was elected in 2016 and has remained the most unremarkable Soros-backed DA elected to date. In fact, Soros’s funding of Patello nearly went unreported, possibly because Patello does not seem to share the radical views of his fellow Soros DAs.
Kim Foxx—Cook County (Chicago), Illinois. Probably the most famous Soros-backed DA, Foxx was boosted into office with the help of $2 million in Soros cash. Foxx has most recently been in the news for potential ethics violations in her 2019 decision to drop charges against Jussie Smollet for his infamous hate crime hoax. (Smollett was recently convicted on the same charges.) Foxx has also made headlines for presiding over Chicago’s largest spike in homicides in more than 30 years while her office dropped charges against 30 percent of felony defendants during 2020.
James Stewart—Caddo Parish, Louisiana. Probably the least well-known and least radical Soros-funded DA, James Stewart was elected as the DA of Caddo Parish, Louisiana, in 2015 with the help of more than $930,000 in funding from Soros. Stewart has enacted few radical reforms since his election, potentially a disappointing result for Soros. His opponents at the time worried that his progressive views on criminal justice would be “detrimental to the safety of Caddo Parish.”
Scott Colom—Circuit Court District Sixteen, Mississippi. Another of the lesser-known Soros-funded Das, Colom quietly received over $926,000 in funding from Soros to help unseat a long-time incumbent in 2015. Colom oversees District 16 in Mississippi, which includes Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Clay, and Noxubee Counties. Colom was recently recommended by Rep. Bernie Thompson (D-MS) for a position as a judge for the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Mississippi. Meanwhile, violent crime, specifically gun violence, remains a serious and growing problem for cities and counties in the 16th Circuit, a problem that Colom has been accused of doing little to combat.
Jody Owens—Hinds County, Mississippi. Aided by a $500,000 contribution from Soros’s Mississippi Justice and Public Safety PAC, Owens was elected in 2019 after running on a platform that promised reform and “alternatives to incarceration.” Owens brought controversy with him to the DA’s office. In 2019, Owens was accused of sexually harassing his female colleagues while working at the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization with a well-documented proclivity for enabling and ignoring sexual harassment in the workplace.
Owens has also recently brought highly questionable murder charges against two police officers. The charges were dismissed with prejudice for lack of evidence that officers “caused any injury” to the alleged victim. Under Owens, Jackson has become one of the deadliest cities in the nation, and in 2021 the city saw over 150 homicides (98 murders per 100,000 residents), an all-time high.
Kim Gardner—St. Louis, Missouri. One of the most famous and polarizing Soros-backed DAs, Kim Gardner has served as the circuit attorney of crime-ridden St. Louis since 2017 and has repeatedly used her office to prosecute conservatives while allowing criminals to walk free.
In 2018, Gardner launched a bogus criminal investigation against Missouri’s Republican governor, which led to a special investigation into her office that found probable cause that Gardner engaged in professional misconduct by hiring a private investigator who has since been charged with perjury and evidence tampering. Gardner was also the lead attorney in the absurd prosecution of Mark McCloskey, but was removed from the case by a judge who wrote “the Circuit Attorney’s conduct raises the appearance that she initiated a criminal prosecution for political purposes.”
Gardner was caught lying about police officers who pulled her over for driving without headlights at night, has admitted to campaign finance violations, and has badly mishandled murder cases. The year after Gardner’s election, St. Louis became the murder capital of the nation, but this did not stop Soros from contributing $116,000 to aid her reelection in 2020. In early 2021, St. Louis became one of the deadliest cities in the world.
Raul Torrez—Bernalillo County (Albuquerque), New Mexico. Although his ties to Soros are less well known and his ideas are slightly less radical, Albuquerque’s DA also got his start from $107,000 in Soros cash that boosted his unopposed campaign in 2016. As of mid-November, Albuquerque had experienced 102 homicides in 2021, the highest number ever recorded, compared to the 67 reported at the same time last year. Meanwhile, Torrez is busy campaigning for New Mexico Attorney General. Soros’s money is likely to make an appearance in that upcoming race as well.
Alvin Bragg—Manhattan, New York. One of Soros’s newest DA’s, Bragg was elected in 2021 as the DA of Manhattan, largely thanks to approximately $1.1 million given by Soros that year to groups supporting Bragg. Even though Bragg has barely been in office, his tenure is already shaping up as a disaster. After Bragg released a memo stating that his office would not be seeking prison sentences for crimes such as armed robbery, drug dealing, and burglary, more than nine prosecutors in Manhattan quit. Interestingly, one area where Bragg is not expected to be overly lenient is an investigation into President Donald Trump’s business practices, which Bragg conveniently took over after assuming office.
David Clegg—Ulster County, New York. Soros cash to the tune of at least $184,000 was used to push Ulster County DA David Clegg across the finish line in his 2019 election, but it was also the source of a major controversy at the time. In an embarrassing guffaw, the New York Justice and Public Safety PAC paid for mailers that featured Clegg shaking hands with a prominent criminal and left-wing activist. Under Clegg, gun crimes and shootings have surged dramatically, and high profile cases have been badly mishandled, including a murder case in which the suspect was released because Clegg’s office failed to file an indictment on time.
Larry Krasner—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Among the most famous Soros-backed DAs, Krasner has been supported by more than $2 million from Soros funneled through the Pennsylvania Justice and Public Safety PAC and the Philadelphia Justice and Public Safety PAC. Krasner was reelected in 2021 with the help of a $259,000 contribution from Soros. Under Krasner’s watch, crime rates have soared, and in 2021, Philadelphia became the murder capital of the United States with the highest per capita homicide rate of the country’s 10 largest cities.
Jack Stollsteimer—Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Lesser known but also well financed by Soros, Stollsteimer was the first Democratic DA ever elected in Delaware County, boosted by roughly $100,000 in ads paid for by Soros during 2019. While still undoubtedly a progressive, Stollsteimer is much less radical than Krasner and has not been openly hostile to police. He did, however, recently feud with police over the graphic details of a report on a rape in broad daylight on a train with many witnesses, none of whom tried to intervene. During Stollsteimer’s first year in office, homicides in Delaware County increased 127 percent, though many attribute this to the county’s proximity to Philadelphia.
Joe Gonzalez—Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas. George Soros has even dared to mess with Texas. Joe Gonzalez is one of Soros’s favorite DAs, receiving nearly $1 million in backing from the billionaire during his 2018 campaign, upsetting incumbent Democrat Nico LaHood in the primary. Just as in Dallas, violent crime reportedly increased by 15 percent in San Antonio under Gonzalez, while convictions dropped by 17 percent.
John Creuzot—Dallas County, Texas. Backed by an estimated $236,000 from Soros, Creuzot became the DA of Dallas County in 2018 and immediately moved forward with a plethora of radical reform policies, including decriminalizing theft under $750, criminal trespass, and drug possession. During his first year in office crime reportedly increased by 15 percent while total convictions dropped by 30 percent. Most recently, Creuzot failed to get a conviction in straightforward case against Billy Chemirmir, a Kenyan immigrant charged with murdering and robbing 18 elderly women in assisted living facilities. He was found with his alleged victims’ personal papers and jewelry in his possession at the time of his arrest.
Brian Middleton—Fort Bend County, Texas. Although it went unnoticed and unreported by the media, Soros played a major role in the 2019 campaign of Fort Bend County DA Brian Middleton, spending nearly $200,000 on advertising in support of his campaign. Middleton has been extremely moderate as far as Soros-backed candidates go, and as a result Fort Bend County has not seen a dramatic spike in crime.
Kim Ogg—Harris County (Houston), Texas. In 2016, Kim Ogg became the state’s first Soros-backed DA after Soros spent more than $600,000 on the race. As one of the first reform DA’s backed by Soros, Ogg is also one of the most moderate. She has stopped prosecuting marijuana offenses, but often seeks high cash bail, causing her to be ostracized by many progressives and apparently Soros.
José Garza—Travis County (Austin), Texas. In 2020, Garza was elected as Austin’s DA with the aid of more than $400,000 in ads paid for by the Texas Justice and Public Safety PAC, one of Soros’s private PACs that has received roughly $3.6 million from the billionaire since its creation in 2018. Since assuming office, Garza has developed a reputation for letting violent offenders go free on little to no bail.
In 2020, Garza released hundreds of inmates from jail over COVID-19 protocols, even though only six people in Austin at the time were known to have COVID-19. In 2021, Garza released a man with eight prior felony convictions after he was caught toting a gun in a meth-fueled car chase with police. After his release with an ankle monitor, the man allegedly went on a crime spree committing 10 armed robberies. Since Garza was elected, police budgets have been slashed, and Austin has experienced skyrocketing crime rates and a record number of homicides.
Parisa Dehghani-Tafti—Arlington County and City of Falls Church, Virginia. Backed by over $600,000 from the Justice and Public Safety PAC, one of George Soros’s many personal PACs, Dehghani-Tafti won her 2019 election by toppling a moderate Democratic incumbent and has been a center of controversy ever since. Dehghani-Tafti, along with several other Soros-backed DAs in Virginia, is facing a recall petition after crimes like felony aggravated assault rose 40 percent during her first year in office.
Steve Descano—Fairfax County, Virginia. Steve Descano, who is also facing a recall petition, was elected in 2019 and has endorsed a progressive platform typical of the left-wing DA faction. Descano has made it his office’s official policy not to prosecute more than 20 different crimes including shoplifting for goods under $1,000, prostitution, and indecent exposure. Descano’s initial campaign benefitted from approximately $600,000 from Soros.
Buta Biberaj—Loudoun County, Virginia. As Loudoun County District Attorney, Buta Biberaj has championed an anti-incarceration approach to the job, but made headlines for personally seeking jail time for Scott Smith, a father who was arrested for misdemeanor disorderly conduct at a Loudoun County School Board meeting while protesting the School Board’s cover-up of his 14-year-old daughter’s rape by a transgender boy in a school bathroom. Smith’s defense attorneys reported that it was “completely unheard of” for a DA to personally handle a misdemeanor, much less to pursue jail time, court-ordered anger management, and a hefty fine. Biberaj’s campaign in 2019 was boosted by over $650,000 in Soros cash, and she is now facing a recall petition.
Ramin Fatehi—Norfolk County, Virginia. One of the latest additions to Soros’s collection of rogue prosecutors, Ramin Fatehi was one of very few Democrats to win a Virginia election in 2021, largely thanks to about $220,000 in funding from Soros. Fatehi has yet to make a name for himself as DA, but he ran on the typical progressive platform of promising to abolish cash bail and decriminalize marijuana possession.
A Trail of Destruction
The patterns within the list are clear: skyrocketing violent crime, countless murders, little to no accountability, limited prosecutorial experience, a proclivity for scandal, and a tendency to unfairly prosecute political adversaries. George Soros certainly has a type.
Now more than ever, it is vital that communities maintain or regain control of their own criminal justice systems and reject the false promises of the progressive district attorney movement. These “woke” criminal justice policies have universally led to disaster, and our poorest communities, not Soros, are left holding the body bags.
See the InfluenceWatch profile for more on Soros’s funding of district attorneys.