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

Soros Didn’t Pay for Shutdown Votes

Q: Did George Soros pay three Democratic U.S. senators to vote for a government shutdown?

A: No. The “senators” named in a fictional story are not real.


“Fred Marken,” “Louis Kearns” and “Gerald Harmon” are not U.S. senators, so they could not have been bribed to vote against a last-minute budget bill that would have prevented a three-day partial shutdown of the federal government.

That false claim was made in a story that alleged the “senators” were paid “millions” by a nonexistent political action committee purportedly financed by liberal billionaire, and right-wing bogeyman, George Soros.

The bogus story was originally posted on Jan. 19 by Ladies of Liberty, which is part of a network of self-described “satirical” websites that all proclaim to publish fiction. But it was also posted on other sites without such a disclaimer, and Facebook users flagged it as potentially false.

“Democrat Senators Fred Marken, Louis Kearns and Gerald Harmon are all under investigation for taking bribes from a PAC fund tied to none other than George Soros,” the story says. “The PAC, DemWatch2020, is run by notorious liberal troublemaker Sandy Batt who has declined to comment.”

Again, those are not the names of anyone currently serving in the U.S. Senate, and DemWatch2020 is not an actual PAC, either. There is no record of a political action committee with that name registering with the Federal Election Commission, as required by law.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label viral fake news stories flagged by readers on the social media network.


Bondarenko, Veronika. “George Soros is a favorite target of the right — here’s how that happened.” Business Insider. 20 May 2017.

Jackson, David, and Korte, Gregory. “Trump declares victory after senators strike deal to lift government shutdown.” USA Today. 22 Jan 2018.

Cowan, Richard, et al. “U.S. government shutdown begins as spending bill fails in Senate.” Reuters. 19 Jan 2018.

BREAKING: George Soros Paid 3 Democrats Millions To Vote For Shutdown.” Ladiesofliberty.net. 19 Jan 2018.

BREAKING: George Soros Paid 3 Democrats Millions To Vote For Shutdown.” Usamericandaily.com. 21 Jan 2018.

George Soros Paid 3 Democrats Millions To Vote For Shutdown.” Usawithtrump.com. 22 Jan 2018.

Center for Responsive Politics. What is a PAC? Opensecrets.org. Accessed 24 Jan 2018.

Federal Election Commission. Registering as a nonconnected PAC. Fec.gov. Accessed 24 Jan 2018.

U.S. Senate. Senators of the 115th Congress. Senate.gov. Accessed 24 Jan 2018.

Share the Facts

FactCheck.org rating logo FactCheck.org Rating:


“George Soros Paid 3 Democrats Millions To Vote For Shutdown.”

Various websites
Friday, January 19, 2018