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August 31, 2016

Highlighting who is using money to highlight (and try to change) prosecutors' impact on criminal justice and its reform

This new Politico article highlights the role being a played by a notable political actor in funding efforts to charge via the polls some notable criminal justice articls. The article is headlined "George Soros' quiet overhaul of the U.S. justice system: Progressives have zeroed in on electing prosecutors as an avenue for criminal justice reform, and the billionaire financier is providing the cash to make it happen." Here is how it starts:

While America’s political kingmakers inject their millions into high-profile presidential and congressional contests, Democratic mega-donor George Soros has directed his wealth into an under-the-radar 2016 campaign to advance one of the progressive movement’s core goals — reshaping the American justice system.  The billionaire financier has channeled more than $3 million into seven local district-attorney campaigns in six states over the past year — a sum that exceeds the total spent on the 2016 presidential campaign by all but a handful of rival super-donors.

His money has supported African-American and Hispanic candidates for these powerful local roles, all of whom ran on platforms sharing major goals of Soros’, like reducing racial disparities in sentencing and directing some drug offenders to diversion programs instead of to trial.  It is by far the most tangible action in a progressive push to find, prepare and finance criminal justice reform-oriented candidates for jobs that have been held by longtime incumbents and serve as pipelines to the federal courts — and it has inspired fury among opponents angry about the outside influence in local elections.

“The prosecutor exercises the greatest discretion and power in the system. It is so important,” said Andrea Dew Steele, president of Emerge America, a candidate-training organization for Democratic women.  “There’s been a confluence of events in the past couple years and all of the sudden, the progressive community is waking up to this.”

Soros has spent on district attorney campaigns in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas through a network of state-level super PACs and a national “527” unlimited-money group, each named a variation on “Safety and Justice.”  (Soros has also funded a federal super PAC with the same name.)  Each organization received most of its money directly from Soros, according to public state and federal financial records, though some groups also got donations from nonprofits like the Civic Participation Action Fund, which gave to the Safety and Justice group in Illinois.

UPDATE: Though this Politico article does not indicate if Soros spent money trying to take down Florida prosecutor Angela Corey, this local Florida article reports on her notable primary loss yesterday starting this way:

Melissa Nelson, an unknown corporate lawyer and former prosecutor three months ago, cleared her path to become one of the most powerful and influential figures in Northeast Florida on Tuesday night when she easily defeated incumbent 4th Judicial State Attorney Angela Corey.

The election caps a dizzying rise for Nelson and an equally shocking fall for Corey, one of the most polarizing political figures in Jacksonville history who generated national attention and enormous criticism for her prosecutions of George Zimmerman, Marissa Alexander, 12-year-old Cristian Fernandez and many others. Corey will depart office in the first week of January as the first incumbent state attorney in modern history to lose a contested election.

August 31, 2016 at 09:12 AM | Permalink

Comments

Good riddance to Angela Corey, a real b....!

Posted by: anon12 | Sep 1, 2016 12:33:59 AM

Corey's prosecution of Zimmerman should have gotten her disbarred. There was no evidence from which a reasonable finder of fact could convict.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 1, 2016 6:55:41 AM

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