PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For the second election in a row, out-of-state interests have put money into the race for Washington County district attorney.
This week, Kevin Barton’s opponent, Brian Decker received $20,000 from a New York organization supported by liberal billionaire George Soros who is a controversial figure.
Decker is a defense attorney trying to unseat Barton. State records show the $20,000 Decker received is from the group, Drug Policy Action in Manhattan. IRS records show it is tied to the Drug Policy Alliance.
A spokesperson with the group confirmed it is supported financially by billionaire George Soros’ organization and he sits on the board.
Barton called it a move by “extremists… trying to buy the race.”
“It’s outside influences, extremist views, trying to buy, which should be a local county race,” Barton said. “This race is a referendum on public safety and we have extremists who are coming in and trying to buy the race.”
A spokesperson with Decker’s campaign told KOIN 6 News he was unavailable to interview because he was out knocking on doors.
“I think that each individual voter is going to make a decision about whom they want to support,” said Elizabeth Cronen, Decker campaign spokesperson. “They’ll make their decisions about whom they’ll vote for, who they’re gonna donate to and what other supporters they want to look into about any candidate.”
According to Drug Policy Action, it is the “leading non-profit organization in the United States working to treat drug use as a health issue, not a criminal problem.”
“DPA proudly supports candidates who share our vision of ending the failed war on drugs and building a better approach,” a spokesperson said.
IRS and state records also show the same group donated money to Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s campaign in 2020 and spent millions to help promote Oregon’s Measure 110 that decriminalized drug possession.
In 2018, KOIN documented how a political operative of George Soros helped direct nearly $700,000 dollars to Barton’s then-opponent, Max Wall.
However, campaign finance laws didn’t require the true source of that money to be revealed until after the election when KOIN 6 News discovered the money was linked to a co-founder of Facebook.