George Soros drops $1.4 million into Philly DA’s race

 Today is the deadline to file campaign finance papers at City Hall. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Today is the deadline to file campaign finance papers at City Hall. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

 Spending by the wealthy now dominates the airwaves in Philadelphia’s race for District Attorney, campaign finance reports filed Friday show.

Liberal billionaire George Soros has written a $1.45 million check for a committee established to support attorney Larry Krasner’s campaign, and attorney and real-estate developer Michael Untermeyer has put $950,000 of his own money into his war chest.

The five other Democratic candidates have raised sums ranging from $79,051 by Tariq El-Shabazz to $648,596 by Joe Khan (see chart below).

The money race is critical in determining who can afford TV advertising, but isn’t the only factor that will affect the outcome in the primary election a week from Tuesday.

Soros has been spending in district attorney races across the country, supporting progressive Democrats who favor reducing prison populations.

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The Soros committee supporting Krasner, called Philadelphia Justice and Public Safety, was established just over three weeks ago. Soros is its only contributor.

Because it is waging an independent ad campaign for Krasner, it’s permitted to ignore the city’s campaign contribution limits, which candidate committees must follow.

Another independent group, the Build a Better Pa Fund is waging a smaller ad campaign to promote candidate Jack O’Neill. It has spent $139,700 on that effort so far, its report shows.

The Committee is funded mostly by construction unions, and was formed in 2015 to assist then mayoral candidate Jim Kenney.

In the Democratic primary for City Controller, challenger Rebecca Rhynhart has raised a total of $327,984, slightly more than incumbent Alan Butkovitz. Butkovitz has more on hand to spend in the closing days of the campaign.

The fundraising totals are included in the chart below. The totals are as of Monday, May 1st.

At the close of business Friday, the deadline for the reporting period, the report of District Attorney candidate Jack O’Neill had not been delivered to the City Commissioners office or appeared on the city Board of Ethics website.

UPDATE: Jack O’Neill’s report came in over night. It shows he’s raised a total of $78,218 and has $45,527 on hand.


Dem Candidates for DA



On Hand

Michael Untermeyer 



Joe Khan



Rich Negrin



Larry Krasner



Teresa Carr Deni



Tariq El-Shabazz



Jack O’Neill







Independent Groups for DA

Phila Justice/Safety (for Krasner)



Build Better Pa (for O’Neill)







Dem Controller Candidates

Alan Butkovitz



Rebecca Rhynhart



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