A group of retired Philadelphia police officers trying to defeat District Attorney Larry Krasner got major financial backing last year from a Republican megadonor with a history of using racist language.
Timothy Mellon gave $500,000 in July to Protect Our Police PAC, one month after the group was established in Pennsylvania, according to campaign finance reports. Mellon’s donation made up the bulk of the $738,000 the group raised in 2020.
The Washington Post reported last year that Mellon, in a self-published 2015 autobiography, described Black people as “even more belligerent” due to social welfare programs that he called “Slavery Redux” and said create “slaves of a new master, Uncle Sam.”
“For delivering their votes in the Federal Elections, they are awarded with yet more and more freebies: food stamps, cell phones, WIC payments, Obamacare, and on, and on and on,” Mellon wrote.
“The largess is funded by the hardworking folks, fewer and fewer in number, who are too honest or too proud to allow themselves to sink into this morass,” he added.
Mellon, 78, founded a freight and rail company and is heir to a gilded-age Pittsburgh family that amassed a fortune in banking and other industries. He declined to discuss his donation when reached Monday at his home in Wyoming, quickly hanging up on a reporter.
“I don’t need to tell you anything about that,” he said. “You’re on your own.”
Mellon also donated $20 million in 2020 to a political action committee trying to help former President Donald Trump win a second term, and $50 million to two other groups boosting Republicans in House and Senate races, according to federal records.
Nick Gerace, Protect our Police’s treasurer, didn’t respond to questions about Mellon.
“We are proud of our broad support of nearly 3,700 donations from all 50 states that directly helped us support and elect 38 pro-police candidates across the country last year,” Gerace wrote in an email.
The group filed its first campaign finance report late Friday, two weeks after the Pennsylvania deadline. It also received $10,000 from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, the local Philadelphia police union and a frequent Krasner foe.
Gerace last year said his group was started to “counterpunch” the influence of George Soros, a billionaire who has invested millions to elect progressive prosecutors around the country.
Krasner was a career civil rights and defense attorney with no prosecutorial experience in 2017 when a Soros-funded political action committee, Philadelphia Justice & Public Safety, spent almost $1.7 million to help him win the Democratic primary for district attorney.
A spokesperson for the Soros-backed group didn’t respond Monday when asked if it would support Krasner’s bid for a second term this year. He is being challenged in the May primary by Carlos Vega, a career prosecutor Krasner fired when he took office in 2018. Defense attorney A. Charles “Chuck” Peruto is seeking the Republican nomination.
Krasner’s campaign reported receiving a $25,000 donation and $10,375 in campaign staff funding in 2020 from another group, Real Justice PAC, which says it “works to elect reform-minded prosecutors.” Krasner finished 2020 with $166,000 in the bank after raising nearly $162,000 for the year.
Protect Our Police reported spending almost $18,000 on Susquehanna Polling & Research, a Harrisburg firm that tested Krasner’s standing with 400 likely Democratic voters in December. The group spent more than $254,000 on consultants, including $160,000 for a firm, Media Stream Consulting, founded in August in Bensalem. That was Protect Our Police’s largest expenditure in 2020.
Gerace, who was paid almost $40,000 as a consultant in 2020, didn’t respond when asked who operates Media Stream Consulting. Vlad Tinovsky, an attorney listed as the firm’s “organizer” in a state filing, didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Protect Our Police sent $51,200 to a related political action committee it started in Georgia, where the group lost its first faceoff with Soros last year. Soros gave almost $250,000 to a group backing a Democrat who unseated a two-term Republican prosecutor in Savannah.
Protect Our Police PAC took heat in that race, with complaints that a billboard it posted was racist because it made it seem like the challenger, who is Black, supported violent protest and that mailers attacking Soros’ involvement were anti-Semitic.
The PAC denounced those as “false accusations meant to discredit and distract” and said, “We unequivocally denounce racism and anti-Semitism.”
Mellon also took aim at academia in his book.
“Black Studies, Women’s Studies, LGBT Studies,” he said, “they have all cluttered Higher Education with a mishmash of meaningless tripe designed to brainwash gullible young adults into going along with the Dependency Syndrome.”