Soros put nearly $1.7 million in Philly DA’s race

    George Soros, a New York hedge fund billionaire and longtime bankroller of liberal political causes.  (Ferdinand Ostrop/AP Photo)

    George Soros, a New York hedge fund billionaire and longtime bankroller of liberal political causes. (Ferdinand Ostrop/AP Photo)

    Billionaire George Soros put even more money into supporting the winning campaign of Larry Krasner for Philadelphia district attorney than the $1.4 million previously reported.

    Final campaign reports show Soros dropped another $211,000 late in the game, bringing his total spending on behalf of Krasner to nearly $1.7 million.

    For some perspective, that’s more than five times as much as Krasner himself spent — and nearly 30 percent of all the spending in the seven-candidate primary.

    Soros has backed district attorney candidates in other cities that support his criminal justice agenda.

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    David Thornburgh, president of the watchdog group Committee of Seventy, said all that outside money in a Philadelphia race makes him uneasy.

    “I have a general and growing concern about how we seem to be nationalizing local elections,” Thornburgh said in an interview. “You know, these independent expenditures flowing from elsewhere are kind of Exhibit A of how that’s playing out. And if this continues, it starts to feel like Philadelphians lose control of our own elections.”

    Krasner didn’t win on the strength of Soros’ money alone. He had broad support among Philadelphia progressive community and labor groups.

    Other players

    The final reports also show the outlay of other independent expenditure group active in the campaign. The super PAC called Building a Better Pennsylvania Fund collected $110,000 in the closing days of the race, most of it from the International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers union Local 98.

    In all, Building a Better Pennsylvania spent about $320,000 in support of Jack O’Neill, who finished sixth with about 6 percent of the vote.

    The other big spender in the race was candidate Michael Untermeyer, who put $1.2 million of his own into his campaign.

    The spending totals for the candidates are listed below, except for Teresa Carr Deni, whose final report was not on the city website and had not been turned into the Philadelphia City Commissioners’ office as of Friday.

    The reports were due June 15.

    Candidate and Independent Expenditure Spending in Philadelphia Democratic Primary for DA

    Candidate or Independent Committee Spending
    Untermeyer, Michael $1,597,519
    Khan, Joe $778,262
    Negrin, Rich $573,538
    Krasner, Larry $318,196
    O’Neill, Jack $133,991
    El-Shabazz, Tariq $110,598
    Deni, Teresa Carr N/A*
    Phila Justice/Public Safety (IE for Krasner) $1,669,013
    Building a Better PA (IE for O’Neill) $320,169
    Total candidates $3,546,290
    Total IE’s $1,989,182
    Total Spending $5,535,472

    * Deni report not yet available

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