George Soros has been in headlines of late for the recent attempt on his life and conspiratorial allegations of his involvement in hot-button immigration issues currently dominating political debates. Far less attention has been devoted to Soros’ ongoing efforts to remake laws surrounding U.S. lobbyists and public-relations agents for foreign governments.
The Open Society Policy Center, the lobbying arm of Soros’ sprawling network of charities and advocacy groups, has quietly dropped millions of dollars this year in an attempt to steer proposals to overhaul the Foreign Agents Registration Act. But unlike many progressive organizations and legislators, the group’s primary concern isn’t surreptitious Russian influence on the American political process. In fact, Soros’ group is worried that overzealous Democrats will go too far, cast too wide a net, and turn FARA into a suppressing force that stigmatizes foreign-funded NGOs in the U.S. and prompts foreign governments to crack down on American ones.
With little fanfare, the OSPC has quickly become one of the country’s top lobbying spenders. It dropped more than $20 million on its federal influence operation in the first nine months of the year, according to congressional disclosure records, including $7.7 million in the third quarter alone. That makes the group the fourth largest lobbying spender of 2018, behind only the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Realtors, and the pharmaceutical industry’s top trade association.