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George Soros (pronounced [ʃoroʃ]) (born August 12, 1930, in Budapest, Hungary, as György Schwartz) is a financial speculator, stock investor, liberal political activist, and philanthropist.

Currently, he is the chairman of Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Institute and is also a former member of the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations. His support for the Solidarity labor movement in Poland, as well as the Czechoslovakian human rights organization Charter 77, contributed to ending the Soviet Union's rule in those nations. His funding and organization of Georgia's Rose Revolution was considered by Russian and Western observers to have been crucial to its success, although Soros said his role has been "greatly exaggerated." In the United States, he is known for having donated large sums of money to efforts to defeat President George W. Bush's bid for re-election.

In an interview with The Washington Post on November 11, 2003, Soros said that removing President George W. Bush from office was the "central focus of my life" and "a matter of life and death." He jokingly said he would sacrifice his entire fortune to defeat President Bush, "if someone guaranteed it."[1] Soros gave $3 million to the Center for American Progress, $5 million to MoveOn, and $10 million to America Coming Together. These groups worked to support Democrats in the 2004 election. On September 28, 2004 he dedicated more money to the campaign and kicked off his own multi-state tour with a speech: Why We Must Not Re-elect President Bush[2] delivered at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The online transcript to this speech received many hits after Dick Cheney accidentally referred to FactCheck.org as "factcheck.com" in the Vice Presidential debate, causing the owner of that domain to redirect all traffic to Soros's site.[3]

Soros was not a large donor to US political causes until the 2004 presidential election, but according to the Center for Responsive Politics, during the 2003-2004 election cycle, Soros donated $23,581,000 to various 527 groups dedicated to defeating President Bush. A 527 group is a type of American tax-exempt organization named after a section of the United States tax code, 26 U.S.C. § 527. Despite Soros' efforts, Bush was reelected to a second term as president.

After Bush's re-election, Soros and other donors backed a new political fundraising group called Democracy Alliance which supported the goals of the U.S. Democratic Party.[4] Soros supported the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which many hoped would end "soft money" contributions to federal election campaigns. Soros has made soft money donations to 527 organizations that he says do not raise the same corruption issues as donations directly to the candidates or political parties.

  1. Laura Blumenfeld, Deep Pockets vs. Bush, Financier Contributes $5 Million More in Effort to Oust President, Washington Post, November 11, 2003; Page A03
  2. "Template:Citation/make link". Commondreams.org. 2004-09-28. http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0928-16.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  3. Suellentrop, Chris (2004-10-06). "Template:Citation/make link". Slate.com. http://www.slate.com/id/2107809/. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  4. "Template:Citation/make link". http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/16/AR2006071600882_pf.html. Retrieved 2006-07-17. 

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