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February 04, 2015

Soros and Feeney Funds Backed Calif. Measure on Drug Charges

Private philanthropies contributed several million dollars to last fall's successful campaign for Proposition 47, a California ballot measure to reduce drug-possession and minor-theft charges to misdemeanors, according to the Los Angeles Times. The chief donor was liberal financier George Soros, whose Open Society Foundations contributed $1.4-million directly to the Yes on 47 committee and, a month before the election, gave $50-million to the American Civil Liberties Union, which then put $3.5-million into the campaign.

Yes on 47 also received $1.275-million from B. Wayne Hughes, a conservative real estate investor, and $800,000 from the Atlantic Advocacy Fund headed by retail mogul Charles Feeney, according to campaign-finance reports. The yes campaign's total expenditure of $9.5-million dwarfed that of the measure's opponents, who reported spending $550,000, raised in large part from law-enforcement groups.