Kai Ryssdal: Today’s money in politics story comes to us with a ‘like father like son’ twist to it. Jonathan Soros, son of liberal financier George, is taking after dad by funding a political project of his own. Soros-the-younger says he wants to reduce the influence of big money in politics.
And bear with me now, ’cause this is where this story gets a little weird. The way he’s going to fight Super PACs? By launching a super PAC.
Marketplace’s Mark Garrison tries to make some sense of it.
Sound of martial arts workout
Mark Garrison: That’s the sound of a big guy thrown to the mat in a martial arts gym. It’s what the younger Soros and his allies want to do to politicians who oppose campaign finance limits.
It’s kinda like what Rener Gracie teaches his jiu-jitsu students, including Tim Tebow.
Rener Gracie: Use the opponent’s energy, power and athleticism against them.
So if the enemy runs super PACs, start one of your own. The Soros super PAC is called Friends of Democracy, and Ilyse Hogue is the co-director. She recognizes the irony of what they’re doing, but says they have to in a political system flooded with cash.
Ilyse Hogue: The political elite are responsive to whether or not they believe they’re gonna be elected and right now, outside money is what governs that response and stimulus and that’s how we’ve gotta make the change.
She says the super PAC will run media campaigns against Congressman who favor unlimited spending. So far, their targets are all Republicans, but Hogue says they could also go after Democrats or help Republicans.
Federal Election Commission veteran Bob Biersack, now senior fellow at the Center for Responsive Politics, doesn’t think their plan will fly.
Bob Biersack: People have tried before to use campaign finance as an issue in a campaign, especially in Congress and it’s generally not successful.
The super PAC wants to raise $8 million to run ads in around a dozen House districts this fall. And if you don’t agree with the Soros-funded anti-super PAC super PAC? You could always start a counter-anti super PAC super PAC super PAC. It’s perfectly legal.
I’m Mark Garrison for Marketplace.