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Left-wing billionaire George Soros is throwing at least a million dollars behind an effort to stop the hiring of hundreds of new police officers in Austin, Texas, according to campaign finance documents reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
The Hungarian-born political activist gave $500,000 through the Soros-backed Open Society Policy Center to a political action committee in opposition to a ballot initiative that forces the city to employ two police officers per 1,000 residents.
Soros’s donation, made on Oct. 12, is his second of the month and comes as Austin experiences a decades-high spike in violent crime. The city has seen at least 67 homicides this year, the highest since at least 1981. Aggravated assaults are also up at least 10 percent, following a 26 percent spike in 2020.
On Oct. 1, the Open Society Policy Center cut its first $500,000 check to Equity PAC, a Texas-based political organization that backs left-wing causes. The donation is the latest example of Soros’s involvement in various left-wing causes at the local level. In 2020, Soros donated over $600,000 to a Texas-based left-wing group that backed the election of José Garza, who now serves as district attorney for Travis County, where Austin sits.
Since 2015, Soros has spent more than $17 million on various local races, including donations to left-wing prosecutors and state legislators. Virtually every candidate backed by Soros and the Open Society Foundations has supported a dramatic reduction in or elimination of cash bail and other policies critics say lead to higher crime.
Other large donors to Equity Pac include the Texas American Federation of Teachers, which gave $10,000, and Movement Voter PAC, a left-wing organization based in Maryland. The Washington, D.C.-based Fairness Project also contributed $200,000.
Voters will decide on the ballot initiative at the polls on Nov. 2 or via early voting from Oct. 18 through Oct. 29. Estimates for the cost of hiring new officers range from $54 million to $120 million a year, per the city’s chief financial officer.