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Viral Posts Misidentify Soros’ Son as the Whistleblower


Quick Take

Social media users, including a Republican congressman, falsely identified George Soros’ son, Alexander, as the whistleblower who triggered the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.


Full Story

Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa took to Twitter in the morning on Nov. 14 and misidentified the person who blew the whistle on President Donald Trump.

“Adam Schiff said, ‘I do not know the identity of the whistleblower.’ @RepAdamSchiff here are four strong clues,” King wrote, tagging Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who chairs the House intelligence committee overseeing the impeachment inquiry into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. King’s tweet included a collage with four photos of a young man posing with prominent Democrats, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Several Facebook users posted the same photos earlier this week, falsely claiming that they show the whistleblower.

But the man pictured is not the person who filed the complaint about Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. He’s Alexander Soros, the son of billionaire philanthropist George Soros (himself a frequent target of false claims and conspiracy theories). At least two of the photos — the ones with Pelosi and Clinton — were taken directly from Alexander Soros’ personal Instagram page.

The identity of the whistleblower has not been confirmed, but it’s not Alexander Soros.

As we’ve written before, the whistleblower is a federal employee, or at least was at the time of Trump’s phone conversation with Zelensky this summer. We know that because the whistleblower wrote in the Aug. 12 complaint that he or she had received information about the call this year “[i]n the course of my official duties.”

Alexander Soros, however, has never been a federal employee. He is deputy chair of the Global Board of his father’s Open Society Foundations, and he founded the Alexander Soros Foundation, an organization which “gives out an annual award to activists working at the nexus of environmentalism and human rights.” Plus, according to his personal website, he completed his doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2018, and has since been a post-doctoral fellow at Bard College, an honorary fellow at Central European University in Budapest, and a visiting fellow at the Institute für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna. 

He also denied being the whistleblower in a tweet responding to King.

“Pretty sad that a member of Congress @SteveKingIA promoted the crazy lie and conspiracy theory that I am the whistleblower. The whistleblower has to be a government employee!” Soros wrote.

King has since deleted his tweet featuring photos of Soros.

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.

Sources

Alex Soros, PhD.” AlexSoros.com. Accessed 14 Nov 2019.

America News. “Meet the ‘WHISTLEBLOWER’ What do you think about that?” Facebook. 7 Nov 2019.

Hale Spencer, Saranac. “Blowing the Whistle on Misinforming Meme.” FactCheck.org. 11 Nov 2019.

Hale Spencer, Saranac. “Does Ocasio-Cortez Have ‘Ties’ to Soros?” FactCheck.org. 4 Sep 2018.

Joe America. “Spread this like gonorrhea. This is the whistleblower.” Facebook. 10 Nov 2019.

King, Steve (@SteveKingIA). “Adam Schiff said, ‘I do not know the identity of the whistleblower.’ @RepAdamSchiff here are four strong clues.” Twitter. 14 Nov 2019.

Open Society Foundations. “Alexander Soros: Global Board Member.” Opensocietyfoundations.org. Accessed 14 Nov 2019.

Soros, Alexander (@alexsoros). “Inspiring meeting with speaker @nancypelosi. As she says: our #diversity is our strength, our #unity is our power! #bluewave2020 #nancypelosi #speakerofthehouse.” Instagram. 2 Sep 2019.

Soros, Alexander (@AlexanderSoros). “Pretty sad that a member of Congress @SteveKingIA promoted the crazy lie and conspiracy theory that I am the whistleblower. The whistleblower has to be a government employee!” Twitter. 14 Nov 2019.

Soros, Alexander (@alexsoros). “There can only be one #womancrushwedensday today and that is of course @hillaryclinton, not just for being the first woman to run for president from this nation’s two largest political parties, but I believe the best presidential candidate this nation could have today! Looking forward to seeing her crush it tomorrow! #wcw #hillaryclinton.” Instagram. 27 Jul 2016.

Trump Power. “Meet the ‘WHISTLEBLOWER’ What do you think about that?” Facebook. 7 Nov 2019.

Trump Rules. “Guess who this is………… THE ‘WHISTLEBLOWER.’” Facebook. 8 Nov 2019.

Whistleblower Complaint. U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 12 Aug 2019.