Hackers believed to be backed by Russia this weekend publicly released more than 2,000 documents connected to billionaire Democratic donor George Soros and his Open Society Foundations.
The documents detail the ins and outs of Soros’s groups, which have funded a slew of public health, human rights and education programs around the globe, while also mounting opposition to hard-right conservatives in the U.S.
“Soros is an oligarch sponsoring the Democratic party, Hillary Clinton, hundreds of politicians all over the world,” the hackers posted on the website DCLeaks this Saturday when they released the documents.
“This website is designed to let everyone inside George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and related organisations,” they said. “These documents shed light on one of the most influential network operating worldwide.”
The hackers, who describe themselves as “American hacktivists who respect and appreciate freedom of speech, human rights and government of the people,” have been linked to the same group that exposed emails from Democratic Party leaders in the days before that party’s national convention last month. The group this weekend also posted messages from Republican state officials and national politicians, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect has called DCLeaks “another Russian-backed influence outlet” based on similarities with the previously identified Russian hackers, nicknamed Fancy Bear.
The documents released over the weekend are grouped into sections relating to the U.S., Europe, Asia, the World Bank and other topics.
The material offers a look behind the curtain of one of the nation’s preeminent nonprofit groups. Soros’s staunch focus on electoral processes around the globe has been a target of critics, and the wide net of activities is likely to inspire their outrage.
Included in the trove are drafts of fact sheets, calendars, memos, funding reports and similar materials, as one might expect from a major nonprofit group.
Some documents in particular are likely to stir ire on the right, where Soros is regarded as something of a nefarious mastermind trying to exert his influence across the globe.
A 2011 document, highlighted by The Daily Caller, details the foundations’ efforts to encourage criticism of hard-line opponents to Muslim radicalism, such as controversial personalities Frank Gaffney and Pamela Geller, who memorably organized a “Draw Muhammad” event last year.
Another document details the multiple organizations that have received millions in funding to challenge “Israeli laws and discriminatory practices against Israel’s Palestinian minority.” Opponents claim those activities undermine Israel’s democratic government and security.
Soros and the influence he wields among American liberal organizations have long been a target of scorn from conservatives, much as the billionaire Koch brothers are on the political left.
He has reportedly committed to giving more than $25 million to Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, and other Democrats, including a $6 million contribution to pro-Clinton super-PAC Priorities USA.