Billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations sought to use Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. to influence the 2016 elections and cultivate influence within the Catholic Church, according to leaked documents attributed to the major grant makers.
The documents said $650,000 in funds were committed for the foundations’ grantees PICO Network and Faith in Public Life to respond to the papal visit. The foundations said they “placed a bet” in early 2015 that the grantees would “be able to make the most of his trip.”
“In order to seize this moment, we will support PICO’s organizing activities to engage the Pope on economic and racial justice issues,” said the documents.
The documents, published on the site DCLeaks.com, appear to be May 2015 and October 2015 board meeting books of the foundations’ U.S. Programs division and a February 9, 2016 memo on the U.S. Programs’ Opportunities Fund.
“By harnessing the Papal visit to lift up the Pope’s searing critique of what he calls ‘an economy of exclusion and inequality’ and his dismissal of ‘trickle down’ theories, PICO and FPL will work to build a bridge to a larger conversation about bread-and-butter economic concerns and shift national paradigms and priorities in the run-up to the 2016 presidential campaign,” said the May 2015 document.
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