George Soros has stepped up his efforts of pushing for criminal justice and immigration reform through a $2 million contribution to a group working to defeat Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County. This amount was donated early last month.
The group, popularly referred to as Maricopa Strong, has also received funding from other wealthy individuals. They include Texas billionaires Laura and Arnold group and Laurene Powell Jobs. Laura and John Arnold donated $500,000 to the cause while Laurene, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, donated $250,000. Before donating $2 million, George Soros had previously contributed $300,000 to the Maricopa Strong group.
Maricopa Strong is one of the many campaigns that the self-made billionaire has funded in efforts to defeat local prosecutors. The campaigns aim at replacing the anti-reform prosecutors with individuals who support the criminal justice reform agenda. Some of the campaigns that Soros has supported include district attorney races in Huston, Denver, and Phoenix. In Houston, George Soros has donated over $1 million dollars towards various elections in Harris County. He has also contributed $1.5 million to help unseat the current district attorney in Jefferson County, Denver.
George Soros’ donation to the campaigns against Jose Arpaio, an established liberal boogeyman, is the largest that the billionaire has made towards a local race in 2016. The campaign is of particular interest to Soros as it has the possibilities of securing both immigration and criminal justice reforms. These two areas are of special interests to the liberal funder.
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Arpaio is a famous sheriff in Arizona. He has gained fame because of his strong stand against illegal immigration. Federal prosecutors with contempt of the court have also charged him for his efforts in the violation of a court order that was aimed at stopping discriminatory practices in Arizona.
The sheriff’s strong stance on anti-reform has seen the formation of Maricopa Strong. The group is keen on unseating Arpaio. The group’s effort has seen it spend over $2.9 million in the sheriff race. The donations made by George Soros will ensure that the group can spend more money in campaigns ads that aim at boosting the election of Paul Penzone, a Democratic candidate. The money will be expended on TV ads and mailers. Soros has been solely funding Paul Penzone’s campaigns. However, Jobs and the Arnolds recently joined the billionaire.
TV ads against Arpaio have focused on his failures. For instance, one ad claimed that the sheriff was focused on pushing his personal agenda against immigration reforms while at the same time neglecting his duties. This aspect of misplaced priorities resulted into many cases of assaults, rapes, and child molestation. His absence means that many of these cases were not investigated. This way, many criminals walked away free.
Previously, Penzone’s campaign was receiving less funds compared to Arpaio’s campaigns. Arpaio has spent over $2.8 million on TV ads. He has sourced for funding from across the United States. The sheriff has leaned on the national recognition of his name to source for campaign money. Recent opinion polls have shown that Penzone is leading Arpaio. Soros hopes to maintain the Democratic candidate’s lead and ensure that he wins the election.
Read more from George Soros over at NY Books