Billionaire philanthropist George Soros says it's not his fault that crime has risen in major cities where his organizations have funded campaigns to elect liberal district attorneys, and that he plans to continue the effort.
"Some politicians and pundits have tried to blame recent spikes in crime on the policies of reform-minded prosecutors," Soros wrote in an opinion piece published Sunday in The Wall Street Journal. "The research I’ve seen says otherwise. The most rigorous academic study, analyzing data across 35 jurisdictions, shows no connection between the election of reform-minded prosecutors and local crime rates."
Soros did not cite what study provided the statistics.
Soros has donated $40 million through his Open Society Foundation to political action committees over the past 10 years to help elect district attorneys to promote more equitable justice to minority suspects, who Soros says are not receiving fair treatment in the criminal justice system, according to a recent New York Post report.
Critics, however, say the practice of ending cash bail and non-prosecution of low-level crimes simply encourages criminals by essentially giving them a free pass.
Soros said that "violent crime in recent years has generally been increasing more quickly in jurisdictions without reform-minded prosecutors," adding that, "Murder rates have been rising fastest in some Republican states led by tough-on-crime politicians."
"Serious scholars" researching the causes of the recent crime increase have noted other factors, he said: "a disturbing rise in mental illness among young people due to the isolation imposed by Covid lockdowns, a pullback in policing in the wake of public criminal-justice reform protests, and increases in gun trafficking."
Further, he said, "Many of the same people who call for more-punitive criminal-justice policies also support looser gun laws."
Soros added that he has no intention of slowing down his financial support of liberal prosecutors.
"In recent years, reform-minded prosecutors and other law-enforcement officials around the country have been coalescing around an agenda that promises to be more effective and just," Soros wrote. "This agenda includes prioritizing the resources of the criminal-justice system to protect people against violent crime. It urges that we treat drug addiction as a disease, not a crime. And it seeks to end the criminalization of poverty and mental illness."
So far, the voters of at least one city have disagreed with Soros. San Francisco voted in June to recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin, and Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon is facing a recall election as well.
Boudin received money from a Soros PAC, and was voted out over "quality of life" crimes such as public urination and camping on the streets, the Washington Examiner reported.
Gascon received $4.7 million from a Soros-funded PAC, and has seen a 46% rise in homicides during his first year in office, according to the Examiner.
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