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Soros Speaks About Sitting Out in 2010

While the Tea Party-backing Americans for Prosperity and the group’s secretive billionaire founder, David Koch, have regularly made headlines this election cycle for their big outlays, the quintessential boogeyman among right-wing folks, George Soros, who donated heavily to Democrats during the last few election cycles, has been largely sitting this one out. The New York Times managed to get a hold of the billionaire financier yesterday, however, and this is what he had to say:

“I made an exception getting involved in 2004,” Mr. Soros, 80, said in a brief interview Friday at a forum sponsored by the Bretton Woods Committee, which promotes understanding of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

“And since I didn’t succeed in 2004, I remained engaged in 2006 and 2008. But I’m basically not a party man. I’d just been forced into that situation by what I considered the excesses of the Bush administration.”

Mr. Soros, a champion of liberal causes, has been directing his money to groups that work on health care and the environment, rather than electoral politics. Asked if the prospect of Republican control of one or both houses of Congress concerned him, he said: “It does, because I think they are pushing the wrong policies, but I’m not in a position to stop it. I don’t believe in standing in the way of an avalanche.”

It’s unclear whether Democratic attacks against large donors making big independent expenditures in the wake of Citizens United might have influenced Soros’ thinking as well. In all likelihood, however, Soros is being up-front when he says he was animated more during past election cycles by the excesses of the Bush administration than by Democratic Party politics in particular.

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