Exclusive — The state’s Republican attorney general is asking members of Congress to investigate a Justice Department grant that he says benefits a “radical progressive” group linked to George Soros responsible for training prosecutors in ways to implement a crime-reducing approach to their work.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey sent letters to Congress on Wednesday urging Republican and Democratic lawmakers to “continue investigating and defunding programs that are counterproductive to public safety” and that “aid or encourage prosecutors to abuse discretion by refusing to prosecute criminals.” “. To justice.”
Bailey’s letters trace what he called a “catalytic moment” in Missouri when disgraced St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner — “a progressive prosecutor on the loose on crime cases” — let a repeat offender out on bail and then drove his speeding car into a speeding car. A young girl, who sustained injuries that required the amputation of her legs.
Gardner eventually resigned after mounting evidence of dereliction of duty and criticism from both political parties.
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“While states like Missouri are leading the fight to uphold justice and put criminals behind bars, the organizations and their partners in the federal government are doing exactly the opposite,” Bailey wrote. “The truth is that the US Department of Justice, in collaboration with extremists like George Soros, is actively funding organizations like the Vera Institute that are turning our streets into war zones,” he said.
Bailey names the Vera Institute — a Brooklyn-based advocacy group that says it wants to “transform the criminal justice and legal systems” with ties to Washington, D.C., and Democrats — as a key partner that is “deeply entrenched” in Gardner’s former office, “turning on and turning it into a disastrous social experiment more concerned with lowering rates.” Prosecute rather than convict violent criminals.
Soros’s Open Society Foundations have donated approximately $11 million to the Vera Institute in previous years.
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Bailey says Gardner “bragged” that her office “partnered with the Vera Justice Institute’s Prosecution Reforming Program to shrink the system and incite transformative change in St. Louis” as it implemented “a new approach focused on…racial equity.”
“Ms. Gardner’s partnership with George Soros and the Vera Institute, with the goal of ‘effectively reducing the impact of the criminal legal system,’ has been a disastrous experiment, and has disabused the office of sound law enforcement practices. The Vera Institute is a far-fetched institution. A left-leaning advocacy organization dedicated to broad and vague goals like keeping away from “case-by-case” prosecutorial discretion (which is a “narrow view of justice”), choosing to focus instead on “the systemic impact of case decisions.”
In a statement to Fox News Digital, Vera said the group “partnered with then-Circuit Attorney for the City of St. Louis (CAC) Kim Gardner on a project to analyze her office’s data, measure racial disparities and identify areas of action.” “Reform and increase transparency with its community. The partnership has helped CAC implement policy reforms such as increasing diversion programs that promote safety by addressing the underlying drivers of crime and reducing recidivism.”
“Vera’s role was to collect and analyze data and work with CAC staff to develop policy solutions, which CAC leadership then decided to implement,” the group described.
“Vera’s recommendations were based on research and data from the St. Louis community. Vera uses industry best practices to analyze local administrative data to understand how prosecutorial decisions impact public safety and racial disparities. Our research is reviewed by the Institutional Review Board and meets the highest standards,” the group said. “Most importantly, our recommendations seek to promote public health and safety through alternatives to prosecution and incarceration that are proven to build safer communities.”
According to publicly available information available on the website of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, the Vera Institute has received hundreds of millions of dollars since at least 2009.
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That same year, Eric Holder, then-President Obama’s attorney general, delivered the keynote address at Vera’s third annual Justice Address in New York City in which he thanked Vera for being “an exceptional partner to the government in the administration of justice.”
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Each year OJP selects law enforcement-related groups working to prevent and combat crime to provide federal funding. The OJP budget is allocated by Congress. In 2023, the OJP’s requested budget is $6.2 billion. According to publicly available documents, Vera was awarded at least $4.5 million in top money.
“As long as the nation’s leaders are forced to fight not only progressive prosecutors and extremist billionaires, but also our own Department of Justice that uses tax dollars to undermine the rule of law in our communities, the fight becomes much more difficult,” Bailey wrote in his book. letter.
Bailey sent letters to the leadership of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees and the leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
The Justice Department did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.