Meet The Mini-George Soroses

One of Sun Tzu’s maxims about battle translates to this: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Justin Danhof

Justin Danhof, Esq.

I have never met billionaire John Arnold, but I imagine he’s read Tzu’s, “The Art of War.” Making up half the namesake of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, he has become quite adept at subduing his ideological enemies — of whom he has many. Importantly, those folks need to become very clear-eyed about his motives and tactics.

Flying way under the radar, the Arnolds have spread an incredible amount of wealth over the past decade to push domestic public policy to the left. In fact, since January 2011, their foundation has disbursed more than $1 billion to advance special-interest causes.

Bipartisan Donors?

To hear the Arnolds tell it, they are equal opportunity donors funding initiatives across the ideological spectrum. In what appears to be one of his favorite tweets about himself, Arnold wrote this in March:

“I’ve now been called the next Koch brother by the far left press and the next George Soros by the far right. I’m an equal opportunity special interest pot stirrer.”

Of that first sentence, no doubt the latter is true. However, the former is not.

Charles and David Koch generally fund limited-government groups that support their libertarian worldview. Counter that with George Soros, who funds groups that create chaos and promote socialism.

To that end, the Arnolds — both through their foundation and their personal giving — are like a mini-George Soroses. From abortion, to anti-Second Amendment work, to liberal “investigative” journalism, to single-payer health care, the Arnolds fund the gamut of far-left causes.

It’s true that the Arnold Foundation also contributes to a small handful of conservative groups. But these donations support right-of-center groups working on bipartisan, noncontroversial issues such as criminal justice reform.

Giving to a few right-wing groups might seem like a logical way to avoid being lumped in with the Soros and Tom Steyer crowd, but it’s far too easy to see through their veneer. They promote their bipartisan giving, yet the Arnolds fund groups whose sole mission is to demonize and bankrupt right-of-center organizations. How is that possibly bipartisan?

Funding ‘SourceWatch’

This is exactly why the Arnold Foundation came to the attention of the National Center for Public Policy Research. Our Free Enterprise Project has watched from behind the scenes as groups such as the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) have worked to defund the free-market movement. Curious, we decided to dig deeper to see who is funding this effort to destroy the limited-government movement.

And what did we discover? It turns out, the Arnolds do.

If you work at any conservative organization in America, you are no doubt aware of CMD’s SourceWatch website. Outdated, inaccurate and rife with unsubstantiated propaganda, SourceWatch is an attack arm of the Arnold/Soros network designed to malign conservative organizations and liberty-based foundations. SourceWatch has a propaganda-laced profile of nearly every single effective conservative organization working on public policy or legislative issues. Its profile of us here at the National Center for Public Policy Research is so laughably false it doesn’t even list our correct address.

CMD has a particular ire for the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Almost certainly because ALEC is successful at advancing limited-government initiatives, CMD has repeatedly attacked ALEC’s corporate members. Its goal is obvious — to diminish ALEC’s funding. In some instances, companies have bowed to these extremist tactics and severed membership with ALEC.

Backing ‘ProPublica’

Another Arnold/Soros outfit, ProPublica, masquerades as a group of do-good investigative journalists. In reality, they exist to do the bidding of liberal deep-pocket donors such as Arnold and Soros. As noted in the Daily Caller, “ProPublica’s new journalistic model is entirely dependent on millions of dollars in annual support from its stable of left-leaning donors. Catering to these donors’ political sensibilities is an existential necessity for ProPublica.” Since 2013, the Arnold Foundation has given $4 million to ProPublica.

And the list goes on.

Since 2014, the Arnold Foundation has given nearly $3 million to the Center for Public Integrity (CPI). CPI is one of the very groups that issued “studies” and “reports” calling on the Obama administration’s IRS to investigate conservative and Tea Party-affiliated nonprofits. This of course led to a major scandal in which hundreds of legitimate organizations were improperly denied (or massively delayed) tax-exempt status.

What do the Center for Media and Democracy, ProPublica and the Center for Public Integrity all have in common besides receiving money from George Soros and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation? The Arnolds have also personally given to each of these groups.

I doubt very much that the leaders of conservative groups who have benefited from Arnold Foundation donations have any idea of the duplicity of that funding. But now that you can see behind the curtain, perhaps it’s time to stop being subdued.


Justin Danhof, Esq., is the general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research and Director of the Free Enterprise Project. This was originally published by Investor’s Business Daily.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.