George Soros is back in Pennsylvania politics with a new $1 million investment, and $100,000 of that is being spent in support of another Democrat seeking to become a district attorney — Jack Stollsteimer in Delaware County.
The liberal New York billionaire and his team are using a scaled-back version of the same playbook they used two years ago to help Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner win a seven-candidate Democratic primary, spending $1.7 million on pro-Krasner television ads via an independent political action committee.
The sudden infusion of funds has unsettled the campaign of incumbent Delaware County District Attorney Katayoun M. Copeland, a Republican who took over last year after former District Attorney Jack Whelan became a judge.
“It’s disturbing that billionaire George Soros is coming into Delaware County and trying to buy the District Attorney’s Office here like he did in Philadelphia with Krasner,” said Pete Peterson, a spokesperson for Copeland’s campaign. “If you look at the Stollsteimer campaign, it’s almost fashioned after the Soros playbook and what he is looking for in district attorneys.”
Trevor Maloney, Stollsteimer’s campaign manager, knocked Copeland in an email for what he called “nearly $200,000” in spending by “super PACs spreading lies about Jack Stollsteimer because she can’t defend her disastrous record as DA.”
Maloney, who did not cite any specific PACs or their attacks, also said Stollsteimer is running to reform the criminal justice system and to “prioritize public safety, rehabilitation, and fairness.”
Those themes are evocative of Krasner’s 2017 bid in Philadelphia, and of other campaigns for district attorney that Soros has backed around the country.
The same Soros associates who ran the Krasner efforts in 2017 filed on May 2 with the Pennsylvania Department of State to create a new entity, Pennsylvania Justice and Public Safety PAC.
A source close to the new PAC said its support for Stollsteimer “will not be in excess of $100,000” in the Nov. 5 general election. The source declined to say if the remaining funds would be spent in other races .
Soros gave the PAC $1 million in July, according to a campaign finance report filed Friday. The PAC also reported spending $95,940 from August to this week, with $53,900 for research, polling, and campaign literature to support Stollsteimer.
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Stollsteimer has served as an assistant district attorney in Delaware County, as an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, and as the Safe Schools Advocate for the Philadelphia School District.
Copeland was an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia when she was appointed district attorney by the Delaware County Court judges. She was previously an assistant district attorney in that office.