Billionaire George Soros jumps into 2012 election with $2 million in donations to Democratic groups

Billionaire George Soros, a generous Democratic donor in previous elections, is stepping up his giving in the current campaign with $2 million in contributions.

The super PAC American Bridge 21st Century said Monday that Soros gave the group $1 million. A Soros spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that the investor also plans to contribute $1 million to America Votes, which helps coordinate the activities of progressive organizations throughout the country.

“American Bridge is committed to being a permanent part of the progressive community by providing strategic support to organizations across the country and working to influence elections in 2012 and beyond,” American Bridge founder David Brock said in a statement. “Thanks to investments by progressive leaders like Mr. Soros, we have been able to build a cutting-edge organization that we will continue to build upon in order to keep providing effective and efficient services to the progressive movement.”

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The New York Times reported Tuesday that Soros is part of a cadre of major liberal donors who together plan to contribute as much as $100 million to grassroots organizations this year.

Soros was an early benefactor of, which spent $21.6 million trying to defeat President George W. Bush in 2004, according to data maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics. Soros estimated that his donations during that election year totaled $27.5 million. was even more influential in 2008, when the group and its members put $88 million toward Obama’s election.

Until Monday’s announcements, Soros had kept his wallet mostly closed during the current cycle and had criticized the 2010 Supreme Court decision that introduced super PACs to presidential politics. Michael Vachon, the Soros spokesman who spoke to the Journal, said that although American Bridge is a super PAC, its mission is aligned with Soros’s values.

“George is focusing his political giving in 2012 on grassroots organizing and holding conservatives accountable for the flawed policies they promote,” Vachon said, according to the Journal. “Both groups are part of a progressive infrastructure, or center-left establishment, that plays an increasingly important role in elections.”