Facebook Twitter Tumblr Close Skip to main content
A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Soros Not Funding Kasich PAC

A TV ad that falsely claimed that Democratic donor George Soros gave “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been revised.

The ad now uses guilt by association to link Kasich to Soros, claiming instead that Kasich got “hundreds of thousands of dollars from George Soros cronies” because two former employees of Soros have contributed to New Day for America, the super PAC backing Kasich for president. That still doesn’t amount to a direct donation from Soros, a billionaire investor and philanthropist, who has long supported Democratic candidates and causes and is backing Hillary Clinton for president.

The ad, titled “Kasich Won’t Play,” was paid for by Trusted Leadership PAC, a super PAC supporting Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, one of Kasich’s two remaining opponents for the Republican presidential nomination. The group started running the original ad in Wisconsin on March 29, ahead of the state’s April 5 primary, as part of a $500,000 campaign with radio, television and digital ads, according to news reports.

The original ad, which is embedded above, featured side-by-side images of Kasich and Soros with text below that read, “hundreds of thousands of dollars from George Soros.”

That’s false. Soros hasn’t donated any money to Kasich or the super PAC supporting him, according to federal contribution records.

However, as the inaccurate text appeared on screen, the ad’s narrator said that “millionaires working side by side with George Soros are bankrolling his super PAC.”

New Day for America has received almost $10 million in contributions, according to its most recent monthly filing with the Federal Election Commission on Feb. 29. Stanley Druckenmiller, a former hedge fund manager who was the chief strategist of Soros Fund Management from 1988 until 2000, has given $450,000 to the super PAC, including two $150,000 donations in February. The PAC has also received $200,000 from Scott Bessent, who was the chief investment officer of the same Soros company from 2011 until 2015, when he left to start his own hedge fund firm, in part, with a $2 billion investment from Soros. Combined, the two men account for 6.5 percent of the PAC’s funding.

Druckenmiller has long funded Republican candidates and committees while occasionally donating to Democrats, according to his contribution records. In 2015, he contributed to super PACs supporting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, both of whom dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination. In February, Bloomberg reported that Druckenmiller confirmed that he would support Kasich, who he said “has been my favorite all along.”

Bessent, on the other hand, has more evenly divided his contributions between Republicans and Democrats, according to federal records. In 2015, he gave $2,700 to Kasich’s campaign committee in addition to the money he gave to New Day for America. He also gave $10,000 to Right to Rise, the super PAC that was supporting Bush. But in 2013, Bessent donated $25,000 to the Ready For Hillary super PAC that’s supporting Clinton.

In 2000, Bessent hosted a fundraiser for Al Gore when the Democratic vice president was running for president.

New Day for America filed a complaint with Wisconsin TV stations on March 29, the day the original ad was released, demanding that it not be aired because “the advertisement itself is false, misleading, and deceptive.” And some stations, including WLUK in Green Bay and WSAW in Wausau, have pulled the ad, according to emails between the stations and New Day for America, emails that were provided to FactCheck.org by New Day for America Communications Director Connie Wehrkamp.

The revised ad began airing on March 31, according to the pro-Kasich super PAC, which provided links to video captures of the new ad by the media monitoring company TVEyes. It still contains side-by-side images of Kasich and Soros.