George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and Democratic donor, is pouring money into Alicia Walton’s run for prosecutor in the state’s 6th Judicial Circuit, which includes Pulaski and Perry counties.
Walton said it was news to her.
She was busy rolling out campaign signs on Friday afternoon when a reporter called.
“He didn’t donate to us,” she said.
A commercial recently began airing on radio stations in the Little Rock area.
“She knows that people are worried about the safety of their children and don’t trust the system to treat everyone fairly,” says the male voice from the radio ad. “It’s time for a change. That’s why she supports reforms to make our communities stronger, safer and fairer. As the next prosecutor, she will prioritize violent crimes, expand diversion programs that allow Taxpayers mistakes don’t become hardened criminals She will ensure that there is a standard of justice so that everyone is treated fairly and no one is above the law. and safer. Vote Alicia Walton for district attorney. Paid for by Arkansas Justice & Public Safety PAC.”
The Arkansas Justice & Public Safety PAC is an independent spending committee backed by $321,000 from Soros, according to a report filed Monday with the Arkansas secretary of state’s office.
Independent spending is not done in coordination with a candidate, according to the Federal Election Commission. In addition, independent expenses are not contributions, so they are not subject to any contribution limit.
Walton takes on Will Jones in the nonpartisan race to replace outgoing district attorney Larry Jegley. Walton and Jones are both from North Little Rock. The election is May 24, along with the state party primaries.
“It’s disappointing to see a group like this that has consistently funded police funding prosecutors and soft crime prosecutors trying to enforce these kinds of policies in central Arkansas, especially in light of the increase in violent crime we’re currently facing,” Jones said of Soros’ support for his opponent.
The Arkansas Justice & Public Safety PAC spent $106,248 in April, mostly on advice, polls and research — none of that with an Arkansas entity.
Whitney Tymas of Washington, DC, was listed as a PAC officer. She is a director of the Black Women Forward Action Fund, according to the filing. Tymas could not be reached for comment on Friday.
According to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission, Arkansas’ new PAC recently purchased advertising from several central Arkansas radio stations.
Walton said if they were ads for her campaign, she didn’t know about them.
“I was so focused on my campaign that I didn’t have time to listen to the radio,” she said.
Walton said she would check and call a reporter later Friday afternoon. She did not call back and the voicemails left for her were not returned.
In a video on his campaign’s Facebook page, Walton talks about his reason for running.
“During my career, I’ve worked a lot within our criminal justice system, and I see a system that’s failing way too much,” she says. “A system where laws are applied unevenly, where the rights of the accused are violated, where victims are not heard and all too often justice depends on the money available to the accused or the victim. Lady Justice is supposed to be blind. We should not allow this to continue.”
According to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s website, Alicia Walton’s nominating committee received $19,074 in contributions and $16,481 in expenses.
The Arkansas Republican Party sent out a mass email on Friday, saying, “Crime is on the rise in the nation ruled by prosecutors and prosecutors funded by George Soros. Now that crime is on the rise in Little Rock, Soros is turning his attention and his money towards the Central Arkansas Prosecuting Attorney’s Race, supporting Alicia Walton.
“This underscores the importance of doing our research on these ‘non-partisan’ candidates in the court and prosecution attorney races and how they are funded. As Arkansans, do we want billionaires with leftist agendas? decide who we elect in Arkansas?”
Soros has been something of a bogeyman for the Republican Party.
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., sent out a press release in June condemning prosecutors whose campaigns were aided by Soros. Cotton mentioned Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
“In the cities where they took power, Soros prosecutors even coddle violent career criminals, often with favored deals,” according to Cotton. “The only good Soros prosecutor is a defeated Soros prosecutor. These radicals have no place in public office anywhere in our country.”