The latest example of what a lightning rod Soros has become when it comes to political discourse in America stems from a claim that he donated $33 million to the controversial group Black Lives Matter (BLM).
Writing in The Daily Beast, Ben Collins states that the charge was made earlier this year, taking root in an investigative article written by Kelly Riddell in the Washington Times, a newspaper that offers a conservative perspective.
Riddell appeared on the Fox News Channel program, “The O’Reilly Factor,” on July 28 to promote her finding of the $33 million donation. In the show, host Bill O’Reilly stated that Soros gives money to affiliate groups of the organization through his Open Society Foundations.
The affiliate groups were headed by three women: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, who had worked together via Twitter to respond to the volatile Trayvon Martin case and the subsequent acquittal of George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing him without cause.
More recently, Thomas Lifson of The American Thinker repeated the claim, saying that it was causing trouble for Democratic politicians. That stemmed from BLM activists interrupting a speech by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, the main rival to current party frontrunner Hillary Clinton. Soros has previously donated to Clinton’s campaigns, opening up the possibility of a connection
However, the charges were denied by officials of the Foundation, saying that the organization didn’t fund protests. Ken Zimmerman, the organization’s director of U.S. programs stated that any money donated comes as a result of issues related to BLM protests and not the organization itself.
Zimmerman said that even the combined amount donated to such groups comes nowhere close to the claim of $33 million, calling it a “rumor stew.”
In 2014, Soros’ Open Society Foundations spent over $826 million during the year. The only indication of a $33 million total comes in a note of spending that amount for domestic social issues through many organizations.
According to Forbes, Soros was born in Hungary in 1930, the 85-year-old Soros was forced to flee the country when Nazi Germany took over the country. From there, he went on to study at the London School of Economics. He used adept financial trades over the course of the last half-century to acquire his wealth, with his philanthropic side starting up in 1979.