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FACTDROP: Soros denies being funder of Wall Street protests
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10/14/2011

Soros denies being funder of Wall Street protests


Πηγή: Business Standard
By Reuters
Oct 14 2011

George Soros isn't a financial backer of the Wall Street protests, despite speculation by critics including radio host Rush Limbaugh that the billionaire investor has helped fuel the anti-capitalist movement.

Limbaugh summed up the chatter when he told his listeners last week, "George Soros money is behind this."

Soros spokesman Michael Vachon said that Soros has not "funded the protests directly or indirectly." He added: "Assertions to the contrary are an attempt by those who oppose the protesters to cast doubt on the authenticity of the movement."

Soros has donated at least $3.5 million to an organisation called the Tides Center in recent years, earmarking the funds for specific purposes. Tides has given grants to Adbusters, an anti-capitalist group in Canada whose inventive marketing campaign sparked the first demonstrations last month.

Vachon said Open Society specified what its donations could be used for. He said they were not general purpose funds to be used at the discretion of Tides -- for example for grants to Adbusters. "Our grants to Tides were for other purposes."

Tides declined to comment.

According to IRS disclosure documents from 2007-2009, the latest data available, Soros' Open Society gave grants of $3.5 million to Tides, a San Francisco-based group that acts almost like a clearing house for other donors, directing their contributions to liberal non-profit groups. Among others the Tides Center has partnered with are the Ford Foundation and the Gates Foundation.

IRS disclosure documents and reports from Tides also show that Tides gave Adbusters grants of $185,000 from 2001-2010, including nearly $26,000 between 2007-2009.

The Vancouver-based Adbusters publishes a magazine with a circulation of 120,000 and is known for its spoofs of popular advertisements. It says it wants to "change the way corporations wield power" and its goal is "to topple existing power structures."

Adbusters co-founder Kalle Lasn said the group is 95% funded by subscribers paying for the magazine.

"George Soros's ideas are quite good, many of them. I wish he would give Adbusters some money, we sorely need it," he said. "He's never given us a penny."

Adbusters may have sparked Occupy Wall Street but it is by no means in control of the disparate movement, with the protests now in their fourth week and spreading to cities across America. President Barack Obama, BlackRock Chief Executive Laurence Fink and Soros himself are among those who have expressed sympathy for the protesters' frustration with high unemployment.

SHARED FRUSTRATION

"I can understand their sentiment," Soros told reporters last week at the United Nations about the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, which are expected to spur solidarity marches globally on Saturday. He declined to comment further.

Soros, 81, is No. 7 on the Forbes 400 list with a fortune of $22 billion, which has ballooned in recent years as he deftly responded to financial market turmoil.

Like the protesters, Soros is no fan of the 2008 bank bailouts and subsequent government purchase of the toxic sub-prime mortgage assets they amassed in the property bubble.

The protesters say the Wall Street bank bailouts in 2008 left banks enjoying huge profits while average Americans suffered under high unemployment and job insecurity with little help from Washington. They contend that the richest 1% of Americans have amassed vast fortunes while being taxed at a lower rate than most people.

Soros in 2009 wrote in an editorial that the purchase of toxic bank assets would, "provide artificial life support for the banks at considerable expense to the taxpayer."

He urged the Obama administration to take bolder action, either by recapitalizing or nationalizing the banks and forcing them to lend at attractive rates. His advice went unheeded.


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