San Diego Republicans are facing off against liberal billionaire George Soros in an improbable big-money brawl about whether the city should change its election laws. The way it is now, candidates for city office who get more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary are automatically elected and don’t have to face the second-highest vote-getter in the fall. The San Diego chamber of commerce’s political action committee has put up $50,000 so far to defeat Measure K, a proposal to require run-offs in all cases. The GOP Lincoln Club has done the same.
Now comes the Open Society Policy Center of Washington DC, ponying up $200,000 in favor of the measure. “We seek to strengthen the rule of law; respect for human rights, minorities, and a diversity of opinions; democratically elected governments; and a civil society that helps keep government power in check,” says the nonprofit’s website. “We help to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights.”
Two years ago, the Washington Post reported that the Soros-bankrolled group had emerged as one of the capital’s biggest spending-to-influence outfits. This past July, Bloomberg News reported that Soros has continued the pace. “Soros’s Open Society Policy Center, the advocacy arm of his philanthropic network, spent $8.2 million on lobbying Washington in 2015. It focuses on international human rights, immigration, foreign aid, public health and criminal justice reform, among other issues.”