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Billionaire George Soros has made his final donation, according to some conservative bloggers.
A May article in Right Wing News says that nearly $2 billion of his money was "intercepted" and that the investor could go to jail for years.
This article, which has been shared over 5,000 times on Facebook, is not true.
This story was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Soros is a hedge fund manager and philanthropist. He has donated $18 billion to his philanthropic organization, Open Society Foundations, for initiatives to support universities, promote democracy, and reduce poverty. He also regularly donates to Democratic campaigns in the United States.
Lately, Soros has focused on changing the justice system by donating to local district attorney candidates who pledge to act tougher on police brutality cases and be more aware of racial issues in policing.
The Right Wing News post frames this as the grounds for Soros’s arrest. But who intercepted the money? What was the crime? We decided to investigate.
The headline of this article, which states that the money was intercepted and that Soros could be headed to jail, is widely unsupported by evidence. It is also unsupported by the article itself, which never explains or even mentions legal action being brought against Soros.
Instead, the article on Right Wing News focuses on Soros’s involvement in district attorney elections in California. The author cites entire paragraphs from Fox News and the Los Angeles Times, two outlets that have reported on Soros’s election donations. Neither mention any legal action, and a Nexis search did not find any other articles about about arresting Soros. This part of the headline appears to be entirely false, and merely meant to entice readers to click.
It is true that Soros and other liberal groups have donated huge sums of money to candidates who want to crack down on police brutality. However, a Los Angeles Times graphic shows that Soros donated about $19 million to 21 prosecutor campaigns across the country since 2014. In California, he has spent $2.7 million.
This is a far cry from $1.8 billion spent on four campaigns in California, as Right Wing News claimed. The headline’s claim that this money was intercepted by someone was also unsupported by the body of the post and any other sources.
Right Wing News repurposed existing news articles about district attorney elections in California to make it appear that George Soros had donated 100 times more money than he had. The website then headlined this article with two baseless claims: that Soros’s donations had been intercepted, and that he was likely to go to prison.
Soros is not in legal trouble for his donations to district attorney campaigns, has only donated $2.7 million in California, and none of his money was intercepted by a third party.
Due to a completely fabricated headline and incorrect numbers, we rate this claim Pants on Fire!
UPDATE (July 16, 2018): After we published our fact-check, Right Wing News contacted us to say that the story was an opinion piece and that the headline included an error. Right Wing News adjusted the headline to say, "OPINION: $1.8 Million Of Soros’ Money Just Intercepted – He Should Officially Go To Prison For Years."
New York Times, "George Soros Transfers Billions to Open Society Foundations," October 17, 2017
Fox News, "Soros spends big in California's DA races in bid to reshape criminal justice system," May 25, 2018
Los Angeles Times, "Here's why George Soros, liberal groups are spending big to help decide who's your next D.A.," May 23, 2018
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