A left-wing lobbying organization tied to influential Hungarian-American investor George Soros spent its highest quarterly amount ever in the period ending on June 30, according to recent financial statements.
As The Washington Free Beacon reported, the Open Society Policy Center shelled out more than $10 million during the second quarter of this year in pursuit of various policy and legislative goals around the world.
The organization took on several new causes during this period in addition to its generally elevated lobbying levels in recent years, particularly since President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Some of the added expense was related to lobbying efforts on behalf of nominating Donald Lu and David B. Cornstein as the United States ambassadors to Kyrgyzstan and Hungary, respectively.
Lobbyists within the Open Society Policy Center also took on causes related to North Korea, including advocating for several bills aimed at limiting the possibility of a preemptive strike by the U.S.
With a reported $10.37 million in spending, the nonprofit group spent more than four times as much during the second quarter than the $2.52 million it spent during the prior three-month period.
The final quarter of last year came close to the most recent numbers, according to disclosures, with $10.3 million in reported lobbying expenses.
Throughout all of 2017, the D.C.-based organization spent $16.2 million. That marked the highest spending level of any year in its history.
At that time, spokesman Jonathan Kaplan explained that the group’s spending varies greatly by quarter based on the dominant issues of the time.
“We make different grants each year depending on what is happening in Congress and there was a lot going on in 2017: Protecting immigrants and refugees, preserving fairness in the tax code, advocating for criminal justice reform, pressing for disaster relief in Puerto Rico, and promoting a progressive U.S. foreign policy,” he said.
Much of the increase in spending at the close of 2017 was directed toward policy battles in Hungary that have impacted Soros’ international foundations.
Soros’ native country dealt a blow to his Open Society Foundations, which is separate from the nonprofit lobbying arm, by increasing pressure last year on foreign-funded non-governmental organizations in the country.
As a result, the group announced earlier this year that it would be relocating its Hungarian presence to Berlin, Germany.
Spending during 2017 alone was just $3 million shy of all lobbying expenditures by the group throughout the 10-year period between 2002 and 2012. With an average of under $2 million per year in spending during that decade, the numbers began to rise significantly the following year.
In 2013, the group spent about $11 million on lobbying. The following year, that number was $12.4 million.
The group has already eclipsed that total in just the first half of 2018. Representatives of the organization did not immediately respond to the Free Beacon’s request for a comment.
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