Soros Clones: 5 Liberal Mega-Donors Nearly as Dangerous as George Soros

From Buffett to Bloomberg, top left-wing supporters give $2.7 billion to push a liberal agenda.

Born: June 21, 1967

Net Worth: $7.6 Billion

Foundation: Omidyar Network Fund, Democracy Fund

Rating: 2 out of 5

Media Outlets: First Look Media, Center for Public Integrity, Center for Responsive Politics, Sunlight Foundation

EBay founder and chairman Pierre Omidyar took the idea of funding the liberal media one step further when he built a media powerhouse all of his own. He used $250 million of his own money and created the news start-up First Look Media.

Omidyar staffed First Look with career liberal journalists from other outlets, including The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald and Slate’s Matt Taibbi. Greenwald’s liberal rants now have a prominent place at The Intercept, First Look’s online magazine. That was the only news-oriented part of the website up and running at the time of this report.

Greenwald was one of two journalists entrusted by Edward Snowden with the leaked NSA documents. (The other, Laura Poitras, also works at The Intercept.) According to the outlet’s own website, The Intercept’s “short-term mission is to provide a platform to report on the documents previously provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.” 

According to Greenwald, The Intercept launched earlier than originally planned due to an “obligation to the NSA documents to have a place to report them.” Besides reporting on the Snowden documents, The Intercept promised to “move forward with what we believe is essential reporting in the public interest.” 

Because of his connection to Snowden, Greenwald’s romantic partner, David Miranda, was temporarily held at London’s Heathrow airport in August 2013 under the U.K.’s Terrorism Act 2000. British authorities confiscated Miranda’s external hard drive containing “58,000 highly classified UK intelligence documents,” according to Greenwald’s then-employer The Guardian. Starting in June, 2013, Greenwald wrote a series of articles publicizing material from Snowden’s stolen files. 

Omidyar prefers to keep his own politics quiet, but his funding revealed what his words didn’t. Through his foundation, the Omidyar Network Fund, he gave more than $213 million to liberal organizations – in addition to the $250 million he spent on First Look. 

The liberal groups he funded included George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the Tides Foundation (a foundation used to funnel liberal money anonymously to a variety of causes), as well as left-wing journalism groups like the Center for Public Integrity and the Center for Responsive Politics.

Another one of Omidyar’s pet projects was promoting the idea of a “post-political” world. At first, the idea of a world without political bickering might sound appealing, but Omidyar’s end goal was to limit political opposition to the majority.

Omidyar himself said as much in the announcement notice for the creation of his latest grantmaking operation, the Democracy Fund. In the January 2013 open letter, Omidyar repeatedly accused the Republican-dominated Congress of being run by “big donors and lobbyists,” as well as being “dominated by the demonization of opponents and deceptive political rhetoric.”

Partial List of Omidyar’s Donations Since 2004:


  • First Look Media: $250,000,000
  • Sunlight Foundation: $20,505,184
  • Center for Public Integrity: $2,150,000
  • Open Society Foundation (London): $677,142
  • Tides Center: $501,000



George Soros doesn’t work alone. Despite liberal cries about conservative “dark money,” the left continued to be financed by an intricate network of dozens of millionaires, billionaires and foundations. This report highlighted only a handful of the most prominent members of this group.

The media coverage of these liberal donors was inexcusable. It was not the job of the media to promote or applaud partisan efforts, and it was negligent of them to ignore or bury connections between liberal policy initiatives and the liberals who funded them. Journalists were far more apt to cover conservative billionaires and their influence than they were to cover liberal billionaires.

As George Soros retires more and more from the political funding spotlight, liberal bankrollers like Buffett, Bloomberg, Steyer, Omidyar and the younger Soros were vying to take his place. And this report is just the tip of that iceberg. There are dozens of other millionaires, billionaires and political game changers on the left. Several big liberal players were not included in this report, including Rob McKay, the Taco Bell heir and big campaigner for higher minimum wage laws; George Kaiser, the billionaire oil tycoon who invested heavily in Oklahoma politics; Drummond Pike, the creator of the highly influential Tides Foundation.


For this Special Report, the MRC's Business and Media Institute looked at 990 tax returns for foundations and nonprofits associated with Bloomberg, Buffett, Steyer, Omidyar and Soros. These tax returns are available through Guidestar and the Foundation Directory. All net worth amounts come from the Forbes Billionaires List.

To gauge the media coverage of these liberal donors, BMI looked for mentions of their names in Nexis transcripts for the morning and evening news shows on ABC, CBS and NBC from January 2001 to June 2014.

Recommendations for Journalists

The Business and Media Institute has the following recommendations for journalists who are reporting on political organizations, donors and funding.

  • Follow the Money: Liberal billionaires funded a wide range of political organizations and media groups. These groups were then considered authorities by major media outlets, including ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. Instead, reporters should challenge the biases of these groups.
  • Treat Public Figures Equally: Media outlets are quick to report on funding by Charles and David Koch to conservative organizations, but they often completely ignore the wide range of funding by liberal donors. Among them, these five liberal donors are worth more than $109 billion dollars, and they aren’t alone.
  • Dig Into Backgrounds of Both Sides: The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics states that journalists should, “Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.” It is incumbent upon journalists to analyze the background and funding sources for groups and individuals on both ends of the political spectrum.

— Mike Ciandella is Research Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Mike Ciandella on Twitter.