Billionaire George Soros is donating $1 million to the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA, The New York Times' Nicholas Confessore reports. It's a change from just four months ago, when the wealthy investor said he would donate to grassroots organizing groups instead of super PACs, because, Soros's spokesman said, there was "no way those concerned with the public interest can compete with" the special interest groups unleashed by Citizens United. On Thursday, Soros's adviser Michael Vachon announced the super PAC donation at luncheon for Democracy Alliance, a group of liberal donors, Confessore reports.
The move is significant because Priorities USA initially struggled to raise money, because liberals in general didn't like the idea of Super PACs, and neither did Democracy Alliance in particular. In May, a group of liberal donors called Democracy Alliance were getting ready to meet to coordinate $100 million in donations for get-out-the-vote efforts, which Democrats complained would duplicate what the Obama campaign had already created. "The idea that these progressive groups are essentially re-creating the wheel is perplexing and troubling," David Krone, chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, told The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny at the time. "Why go off and build a redundant grass-roots and get-out-the-vote organization that the Obama campaign is clearly invested in?" Donors and Democrats seem to be more on the same page now. At the luncheon, Soros committed to spending $500,000 on two Democratic congressional super PACs, and other donors pledged $10 million more. But Soros is still spending a lot less than he spent in 2004, when he blew $23 million to defeat George W. Bush, something he called "the central focus of my life."