James Varney, Washington Times, August 20, 2020
Billionaire Democratic donor George Soros bankrolled the successful campaigns of a new crop of district attorneys who now preside over big cities with skyrocketing crime and frayed relationships with police departments.
Soros-backed DAs in Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Francisco and other cities have fired scores of experienced prosecutors and, as promised, stopped prosecuting low-level quality-of-life crimes such as disorderly conduct, vagrancy and loitering.
Their laissez-faire criminal justice philosophy bucks the get-tough “broken windows” approach, made famous by then-New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, which targets minor offenses to cut off the criminal element in the bud.
Put into practice, New York and other metropolises saw dramatic crime reductions throughout the ‘90s and ‘00s.
Those days are long gone.
“I would describe it as abysmal,” Jeff Roorda, general manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, said when asked about cops’ relationship with Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner. “It has gone from bad to worse and now there is no cooperation.”
The city has suffered a crime surge since the Soros-backed prosecutor took office. Violent crime rose by 8.8% since 2006. In terms of violent crimes per 100,000 residents, St. Louis has surpassed Detroit as America’s most violent city.
Her 2016 campaign received more than $190,000 from PACs to which Mr. Soros is the sole or principal contributor. His PACs have poured at least $116,000 into her re-election this year.
Ms. Gardner cruised to a primary victory Aug. 4 and is expected to easily win reelection in November in the heavily Democratic city.
Homicides in Philadelphia, which fell below 300 annually for four consecutive years through 2016, have again shot up, rising by 34% in 2020 and hitting 257 as of Aug. 3, according to police department figures.
District Attorney Larry Krasner won the office in 2017 running on his background as a defense attorney and litigant against the police department. In that campaign, Mr. Soros‘ Pennsylvania Justice and Public Safety PAC spent $1.7 million supporting Mr. Krasner’s bid, a figure which startled a state’s political class that had never seen such sums spent in a district attorney race.
San Francisco has experienced a dramatic drop in reported rapes but so far this year, murders are up 30.4% from a year ago. Car theft, burglary and arson also have risen between 30% and 44%, according to police reports.
There is now also an app to help pedestrians navigate piles of feces on the streets of San Francisco.
Chesa Boudin, the new San Francisco district attorney and a former translator for late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, is the son of Weather Underground radicals who were convicted of murder for their role in the killing of three people during the 1981 robbery of a Brink’s armored car.
With his parents behind bars, Mr. Boudin was raised by former Weather Underground members Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.
While Mr. Boudin did not receive money directly from one of Mr. Soros‘ multiple state PACs, a network of left-wing donors connected to the Hungarian-born billionaire helped Mr. Boudin raise more than $620,000.
The donor web included Chloe Cockburn, who is with Mr. Soros‘ Democracy Alliance, along with the Tides Foundation and Brennan Center for Justice, both of which have Mr. Soros as a deep-pocketed contributor.
Running on platforms that accused the criminal justice system of being racist to the core, these prosecutors vowed to either eliminate or sharply reduce enforcement of drug and minor-property offenses, and eliminating or slashing bail.
The campaigns often portrayed police as agents of a racist system that disproportionately imprisoned Blacks and other minorities.
“They’re not progressive, they’re rogue,” Cully Stimson, a former prosecutor and now a senior legal fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said of Soros-backed prosecutors. “What they ran on and what they practice is a wholesale abrogation of their duties, taking whole classes of crimes and reclassifying them as not-crimes. Where they have taken office, there’s been an institutional breakdown of civic and professional norms.”
Police departments also may have seen morale plummet in the face of attacks on law enforcement from several angles, such as the Black Lives Matter protests and defund-the-police movement.
“We’d have to know if police in these cities are making fewer arrests or engaging in less proactive policing due to demoralization in response to the media assault on police,” said Barry Latzer, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
The campaign to elect prosecutors sympathetic to the left-wing agenda has not been done on the cheap.
The $1.7 million spent on Mr. Krasner dwarfed all previous spending by district attorney candidates of any party in Philadelphia.
The same has been true in smaller races: Mr. Soros‘ New York Safety and Public Justice PAC spent at least $800,000 in an unsuccessful bid last November to oust incumbent Republican Sandra Doorley in upstate Monroe County.
In the same 2016 cycle, Mr. Soros‘ PACs spent $3 million on seven local district attorney campaigns in six states. The sum was more than total spent on the 2016 presidential campaigns that year by all but a handful of rival super-donors, according to an analysis by Politico.