The Left Spends Millions to Return Criminals to our Streets

by | May 3, 2023 | Law and Fair Courts

Funding for anti-cash bail initiatives climbs even as released criminals are allowed another chance to wreak havoc in our communities

A coalition of Left-wing billionaires, politicians, and criminal justice advocacy groups are working to abolish cash bail in numerous cities across the country.

The groups, supported by a litany of liberal donors, often work alongside districts’ attorneys and Democratic lawmakers known for “progressive” and “soft on crime” policies. In many cases, cities that implement cash bail reforms see released individuals, many charged with felonies, continue to commit crimes that include theft, murder, arson, and assault.

The groups work to reduce pretrial incarcerations, saying that the cash bail system is unjust, ineffective, and racist; however, cash bail policies have led to groups being shut down or ridiculed for releasing dangerous individuals. By reforming cash bail, the groups hope to reduce the number of pretrial inmates across America, often pointing to the nearly 500,000 incarcerated individuals who have not been convicted of a crime.

Despite crime rates climbing from 4.76 to 6.52 per 100,000 people, a 37 percent increase between 2010 to 2020, liberal billionaire and philanthropist George Soros and others continues to fund “progressive” district attorneys and left leaning nonprofits that are dedicated to reforming cash bail. From 2014 to 2021, Soros spent a combined $40 million to elect 75 district attorneys in districts that account for 72 million Americans. Soros-backed district attorneys represent roughly 22 percent of Americans, yet their offices oversaw 40 percent of homicides and 33 percent of all violent crime in 2021.

Alongside funding for ideologically motivated district attorneys, Soros continues to pour millions of dollars into “progressive” criminal justice advocacy groups. In 2021, the Soros-funded Open Society Foundations, one of the largest political philanthropies in the world, donated $10 million to Borealis Philanthropy, a 501(c)(3) whose Spark Justice Fund has moved nearly $9.6 million to 51 organizations working to stop cash bail since 2019.

In Texas, Soros donated $600,000 to the 2016 election campaign of José Garza during the district attorney race in Harris County, Texas. In 2017, Harris County removed cash bail for those charged with minor crimes or misdemeanors.

Arnold Ventures

Though Soros-funded district attorneys and nonprofits have pushed cash bail reform in various cities across the country, many other private donors are working toward the same goal. Hedge fund billionaire John Arnold, characterized as a “mini George Soros” by Free Enterprise Project director Justin Danhof, has a history of advocating for and funding cash bail reform though his company Arnold Ventures LLC.

Arnold founded hedge fund Centaurus Advisors LLC in 2002 after leaving the scandalized energy giant Enron. After Enron collapsed, Arnold was awarded an $8 million bonus and was not accused of any wrongdoing in the collapse.

Arnold Ventures has donated more than $45 million to various criminal justice reform groups in New York, and, In 2019,  donated nearly $40 million to only bail reform initiatives. During the same time period, Arnold Ventures donated $13 million to the Vera Justice Institute, a liberal nonprofit that supported a 2019 cash bail reform law.

The law, signed by former Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, removed cash bail for a majority of nonviolent felony and misdemeanor charges in the state.

Alongside support and funding for bail reform initiatives, Arnold also launched the National Partnership for Pretrial Justice through Arnold Ventures. Arnold pledged $48 million to the partnership, saying it was the “most significant investments to date in reforming the criminal justice system.”

In 2020, Arnold and three other billionaires, donated a collective $18 million dollars to a committee known as “Yes on Prop 25,” which advocated for cash bail to be replaced with “risk assessment.”  The proposition, defeated 56 percent to 44 percent by California voters, would have removed cash bail in leu of a multi-teared risk assessment system that would have effectively removed cash bail for all misdemeanor charges.

More Money, More Problems

Liberal billionaires and left-leaning nonprofits have donated millions of dollars to reform cash bail, but overall contributions have also jumped significantly over the last few years.

From 2019 to 2020, the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a 501(c)(3) that supports cash bail reform, received a large increase in contributions. The nonprofit’s total contributions grew from over $200,000 in 2019 to $42 million in 2020, a 20,900 percent increase.

The Chicago Community Bond Fund, another 501(c)(3) dedicated to criminal justice reform, saw contributions increase from just below $1 million in 2019 to nearly $8 million in 2020, a 700 percent increase.

Many large bail reform advocacy groups and nonprofits across the country have successfully helped charged individuals make bail, but in many cases, the released individuals go on to further commit criminal acts.

In December 2021, the Minnesota Freedom Fund posted bail for Jackie Rahm Little, who was charged with allegedly setting fire to a vehicle. After the Minnesota Freedom Fund helped Little with his release, he was charged with arson connected to two mosque fires in south Minneapolis.

The Chicago Bail Fund, alongside the Bail Project, another bail reform 501(c)(3) that is backed by many A-list celebrities, have between them released 162 individuals charged with serious felonies. Of those released, three were charged with murder, 10 were accused of murder, and 22 were labeled as “armed habitual criminals.”

More than 20 percent of the individuals released were later charged with further crimes.

The Bail Project was shut down and sued in late 2022 after the group posted bail for Rashawn Gaston-Anderson, who was charged with burglary and theft in 2021. Six days after posting bail, Gaston-Anderson allegedly shot a waiter 11 times in Las Vegas’ Chinatown.

The waiter, Chengyan Wang, sued the Bail Project for over $15,000 in damages. “He’s got scars all over his body. He can’t move his shoulder over a certain height. I don’t know how [the bullets] missed a vital artery,” Wang’s attorney, Kory Kaplan, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Wreaking Havoc

As bail reform continues to take the main stage in criminal justice reform, many advocates point to studies that show bail reform results in a lower number of subsequent crimes committed, but the numbers are often misleading. One study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice showed that only 43.8 percent of individuals released under New York’s new bail law were rearrested within two years, while 50 percent of people who were arrested before the cash bail law took effect were rearrested within two years.

During the pandemic, arrest rates in New York fell from 214,000 in 2019 to 140,000 in 2020. In 2021, arrest rates began to stabilize, and slightly rose to 155,000. During this time, prosecutors were charging fewer people, and many individuals who may have been rearrested in 2020 or 2021, were left walking free.

The lower arrest rate during the pandemic dampened the legitimacy of the cash bail reform data, as New York’s arrest rate was artificially lower at the time.

Crime, especially in major Democrat-run cities, continues to rise, yet left-wing advocates, who view the cash bail system as a racial injustice, are pushing ever-looser criminal justice policies. Wealthy donors are pouring millions into these groups, and, as a result, may are seeing staggering increased in revenue from contributions. At the same time, many of the released criminals are given an opportunity to walk freely among law-abiding citizens, and often go on to commit serious crimes.

Want more breaking news? Subscribe now!

By providing your phone number and checking this box, you are consenting to receive calls and text messages, including autodialed and automated calls and texts, to that number from Restoration of America. Message and data rates may apply. Reply "STOP" to opt-out.