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As billionaires like George Soros gain prominence by funding criminal justice reform efforts, one wealthy donor remains relatively unknown, despite spending a lot of money. Hmm.
Texas billionaire John Arnold, a former Enron executive and hedge fund manager, has in recent years secretly poured more than $45 million into a New York group working on criminal justice issues, Fox said.・It became clear in the news digital grant review.
From Arnold Ventures, a limited liability company, Democratic donors have pushed money to left-wing organizations and universities for research, prosecutorial efforts, and establishing groups and policy hubs. In 2019, Arnold and his wife Laura spent nearly $40 million of his money on initiatives including bail reform.
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Millions of dollars have flowed into New York organizations supporting former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s controversial Bail Reform Act of 2019. Critics say the reforms have contributed to an increase in crime in areas such as New York City. Repeat offenders face no bail and are being put back on the streets, and several Arnold-funded groups advocate for it.
A spokeswoman for Arnold Ventures told Fox News Digital that the group does not support bail reform in New York, and that bail-related funding will be more likely to affect whether the policy works once the law is passed. He said it was done to help him understand better.
Scott Walter, president of the conservative non-profit Capital Research Center, told Fox News Digital, “John Arnold’s millions of dollars have supported many left-wing movements, but they have devastated New York City. There is nothing more dangerous than an awakened justice movement.”
“The Arnold-funded group is promoting utopian pipe dreams under the guise of progressive reform,” said Walter. “But the victims will not be billionaires like him. They will be disproportionately poor people of color.”
Since 2016, the group has raised 1,300 for its criminal justice initiative against the Vera Institute of Justice, a progressive nonprofit working to end mass incarceration, according to a search of Arnold Venture’s grant database. Spent over a million dollars.
The Vera Institute supported Cuomo’s Bail Reform Act of 2019 and lobbied tens of thousands of people for criminal justice earlier in the year, disclosures show. They later highlighted their efforts in their year-end report.
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“In New York State, Vera is partnering with advocates to build public pressure and momentum for change, and working with government leaders to ensure that bail reform is not only possible, it is possible. We have demonstrated that,” said the 2019 annual report.
“This approach has been critical in delivering astonishing results. The New York legislature passed some of the most sweeping criminal justice reforms in 50 years. and has the potential to end mass incarceration at the local level.”
Arnold Ventures has invested over $2 million in the Innocence Project. The Innocence Project defended the reform law when it was criticized by critics earlier this year, saying it was a “bad idea” to undo it. At least $1.6 million went to the Brennan Judiciary Center to advocate for the law.
The Brennan Center said in March, “There is no clear link between the recent increase in crime and the Bail Reform Act enacted in 2019, and the data currently do not support further amendments to the law.
The billionaire group has also committed millions of dollars to other New York-based organizations for criminal justice efforts, including the New York Criminal Justice Department, the City University of New York Research Foundation, the City of New York Foundation, New York University, and Countermeasures. distributed. The databases of the Justice Institute and the board of trustees of Columbia University in New York City show.
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Jeremy Travis, executive vice president of criminal justice at Arnold Ventures, said: signal support He supported the Empire State bail reform effort before it passed, but emphasized balancing public safety.
“The community wants more people to be released before trial, while also taking public safety seriously,” Travis wrote in a March 2019 op-ed. “A fair pretrial system would balance these needs.”
In the piece, Travis called for all defendants awaiting trial to be released, except in cases of “extremely high risk.”
After its passage, an Arnold Ventures spokesperson said it would provide $5.5 million to a handful of organizations, including the Vera Institute, to gather updates for government agencies and local governments to see how the new pretrial system works. He said he understood what to do and helped provide the objectives. Evaluation of bail policy.
Meanwhile, around the time of Travis’ op-ed, Forbes said that Arnold put out $39 million To “reform America’s broken bail system” toward bail reform and other judicial initiatives.
“Nowadays, in most places, if you are arrested, the money you have will determine whether you will be released. [on bail]James Cadogan, then vice president of criminal justice at Arnold Ventures, told the publication, “It’s fundamentally unjust. Its impact rests disproportionately on the poor and people of color.” ”
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One of these grants went to New York University’s Public Safety Lab to study “the impact of bail, pretrial detention, and attorney practice on defendant-level outcomes across 1,028 counties.” .
And as crime soars in New York City, critics are taking aim at the law.
In August, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and police chief called the state’s reform legislation “insane” and “dangerous” amid a rise in arrests and a series of high-profile attacks on law enforcement and the public. accused of having
“This is about repeat offenders who unnecessarily torment New Yorkers,” New York Police Chief Kiecchant Sewell said during a press conference with Adams. Unlike what this city has to offer, repeat offenders are planning or taking advantage of their next theft, robbery, robbery, or other crime. “
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“Their efforts are further aided by the fact that the criminal justice system failed to hold them properly accountable for their actions after the NYPD arrested them.” are committing crime after crime and are affected little if at all.”
Mayor Adams added that this is not “a fight against those who recognize the need to reform the criminal justice system” but “a fight against those who are abusing those reforms.”
Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones contributed to the report.