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April 25, 2017

Report: George Soros-backed super PAC makes ad buy for Philly DA candidate

Billionaire Hungarian-American investor George Soros has reportedly thrown his weight behind a candidate in the race for Philadelphia district attorney, supplying $280,000 for television ads through a super PAC linked to his associates, according to City & State PA.

Soros, a well-known backer of liberal and progressive causes, is among a group pushing the candidacy of Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Larry Krasner. The report states the contribution comes from Philadelphia Justice & Public Safety, a "dark money" group set up as an independent expenditure committee that does not have to disclose donors.

Registration with the city Board of Elections was filed Tuesday, according to Inquirer, though the group's status prevents it from coordinating directly with the campaign it supports.

The purchase comes after months of speculation that a Soros-linked group would back the criminal defense attorney. The attorney has run a campaign painting himself as the “true” progressive in a field that has tacked progressively leftward.

Krasner's civil rights and social justice platform calls for bail reform, addressing mass incarceration and resisting policies put forth by the Trump administration.

He is one of seven Democrats in the race for a seat thrown wide open by the criminal charges filed against embattled District Attorney Seth Williams. Former state prosecutors Joe Khan and Mike Untermeyer, former Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni, and former assistant district attorneys Tariq El-Shabazz and Jack O’Neill are all on the ticket for the Democratic primary on May 16.

Former prosecutor Beth Grossman is the sole Republican in the race.

Thus far only Untermeyer has bought TV time through his largely self-funded campaign, though City & State PA said that's expected to change by early May.

Since rumors first surfaced that a Soros-led group may back Krasner, the campaign has declined to comment on the activities of outside groups.