The Open Society Policy Center, a group owned by Hungarian-American progressive tycoon George Soros, is supporting an anti-police campaign in Austin, the capital of Texas.
Last year, following pressure to defund police departments during the Black Lives Matter riots, the Austin City Council cut $150 million from the city’s Police Department budget. This created a number of problems, including an increase in violent crime, including murders, as well as a shortage of personnel within the department to handle emergencies.
As a result, Save Austin Now, a bipartisan citizens’ group dedicated to “reversing bad city council policies and providing real solutions to issues like the deregulation of camping, out-of-control crime, and skyrocketing property taxes,” launched “Proposition A,” a proposal that seeks to bolster Austin’s decimated police department.
“Proposition A” seeks, in short “to establish minimum police staffing and require there to be at least two police officers for every 1,000 residents of Austin”; “add an additional 40 hours of police training each year on topics such as active shooter scenarios, critical thinking, and defensive tactics”; and finally, “provide police with additional compensation for being proficient in non-English languages, enrolling in cadet mentoring programs, and being recognized for honorable conduct.”
However, not everyone supports the proposal to strengthen the police department. There are several progressive groups — such as Equity Austin and No Way on A — that are leading a fierce opposition against Proposition A.
According to Ryan Autullo, local reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, Open Society Policy Center donated up to $500,000 to Equity Austin in an effort to support the anti-police campaign.
According to Autullo, Soros would not be the only progressive or Democratic investor to support opposition groups against Proposition A. “This isn’t the only major donation coming into Austin to defeat Prop A. Also on Monday, The Fairness Project in Washington gave $200,000 to Equity PAC.”
“Also donating to Equity PAC: Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea. She gave $1,052.95. The donation came Saturday — a few days before Shea drew a campaign challenge from activist Bob Libal,” Autullo reported.
George Soros criticized for anti-police effort
Reactions after Soros’ investment against the Austin Police Department was revealed were swift.
“It sickens me that out of town billionaires are able to swoop into Austin to fight against citizen-led ballot initiatives,” Austin City Council member Mackenzie Kelly told Fox News. “The purpose of our city’s charter is to allow regular, everyday people to fight for what they believe in when the city council fails them.”
Likewise, Matt Mackowiak, co-founder of Save Austin Now, seized on the news that Soros is funding Equity Austin to boost fundraising for the pro-police campaign.
“National left-wing interests are trying to destroy public safety in Austin. Help us ensure adequate police staffing, increase community policing, double police training and enact sensible police reforms. Donate here,” Mackowiak tweeted adding the link to donate to the Proposition A campaign.
In a statement to The Texan, Mackowiak along with Save Austin Noe’s other co-founder, Cleo Petricek, said, “Massive out-of-state funding for our opponents show two things: That Austin donors won’t fund the anti-Prop A campaign and that the stakes in this effort to restore public safety to Austin could not be higher.”
“We are now going to fight twice as hard and we hope all our supporters will as well.”
The election to approve or not approve Proposition A will be held on Nov. 2.