The Open Society Policy Center (OSPC) is a lobbying group associated with the Open Society Network and the Open Society Foundations, the principal advocacy philanthropic efforts of left-of-center financial billionaire George Soros. Longtime left-of-center political and advocacy operative Stephen Rickard works as the Center’s executive director.
Since 2002, OSPC has spent more than $152 million on grantmaking and lobbying activities. More than $96 million of that amount was spent since the Trump Administration came into office. Nearly one-third of that amount, or $48.47 million, was spent in the 2019 cycle alone.  That year, OSPC became the second biggest spender on federal lobbying in the United States, after the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, beating out traditionally high-spending lobbying groups such as the National Association of Realtors, the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the American Hospital Association, and health insurer Blue Cross/Blue Shield. 
OSPC lobbies and make grants to other left-of-center advocacy groups in several areas, including foreign policy and national security, immigration, criminal justice, election reform, and “reproductive and sexual justice.”  It has taken a lead role in opposing judicial and executive branch nominees in both the Trump and George W. Bush administrations.
In 2018, OPSC gave $2 million in grants to left-wing groups to advocate against President Donald Trump’s judicial nominations. The grantees included $1,000,000 to Planned Parenthood Action Fund, $150,000 to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, $150,000 to the Committee for a Fair Judiciary, $350,000 to Color of Change (a part of which was designated for voting rights advocacy), $200,000 to the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), and $100,000 to Maine People’s Alliance. 
Between 2012 and 2016, OSPC gave more than $2 million to the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which was characterized as one of the “key groups founded to resist Trump” by the Atlantic. The Sixteen Thirty Fund sponsors Demand Justice, one of the leading groups that has worked to oppose Trump judicial nominees. 
In 2018, OSPC lobbied against the nomination of David B. Cornstein to be U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, Gina Haspel to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and Michael Pompeo to be Secretary of State.  OSPC executive director Rickard wrote a letter accusing Haspel of running CIA “black sites” and destroying evidence that CIA agents had tortured military detainees. 
In 2011, OSPC joined the Alliance for Justice and 75 other largely left-leaning organizations calling for return to “regular order” for judicial nominees in the U.S. Senate and “swift confirmation of President Obama’s judicial nominees.” 
George W. Bush Administration
OSPC also worked to oppose Bush administration nominees. In 2005, OSPC organized a coalition of left-leaning religious leaders and academics to oppose the nomination of Alberto Gonzales to be U.S. Attorney General. George Hunsinger of Princeton Theological Seminary, leader of the OSPC-organized group, told a press briefing that Gonzales “was at the heart of deliberations in high places about skirting the Geneva Conventions and international law. The question was not how to prevent abuse, but how far interrogations could go in getting away with it. It was but a short step from there to Abu Ghraib.” Gonzales was ultimately confirmed. 
The next year, OPSC organized a group of 20 organizations working in foreign policy to oppose the possible re-nomination of John Bolton to be U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton had been appointed to the position during a Congressional recess but faced a tough nomination fight; he ultimately withdrew in the face of opposition from Senate Democrats. 
Iraq War and Anti-Terror Policies
Two years later, Joseph Onek, a former State Department official in the Clinton administration and OSPC security analyst, argued before a Congressional committee that “it is obvious that the government’s expanded information gathering and data mining systems [under the USA PATRIOT Act] will focus on Muslim-Americans.” Because of this, Onek proposed “that information gathered for anti-terrorist purposes not be used against individuals except in proceedings that directly relate to terrorism or other very, very serious crimes,” and not in immigration or other criminal prosecutions. “Unless this restriction is imposed,” Onek argued, the unfairness of using intelligence gathered from open sources “will breed discontent in the Muslim community and will undermine the fight against terrorism.” 
The organization has also lobbied officials in the State Department and Congress regarding laws passed by the Hungarian government that George Soros opposes and that impact his ability to carry out advocacy in the country.
In 2017, Open Society Policy Center lobbied State Department officials and the Congress against a Hungarian law preventing Central European University from offering degrees in both Hungary and the United States. This legislation scuttled plans by the university to open a campus in Budapest.  The university is funded by Soros and was opposed by “members of the ruling Fidesz party” who “portrayed the new measures as a fight for national sovereignty.” The government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has opposed Soros’s efforts to influence Hungarian politics through international organizations such as the Central European University. 
In 2018, OSPC also lobbied the State Department and Congress against a “Stop Soros” law passed by the Fidesz-controlled Hungarian parliament that limits the activities of Soros-funded foreign entities that advocate on behalf of migrants entering Hungary and requires those groups to disclose their funding. 
Between 2012 and 2013, OSPC more than tripled its spending from $3 million to $11.25 million, largely to support liberal expansionist “comprehensive” immigration reform. Its largest grantee was the Alliance for Citizenship, a coalition of labor unions, liberal immigration advocacy groups, left-leaning community organizing groups, and faith-based groups. 
Throughout 2017 and 2018, OSPC lobbied Congress in favor of the DREAM Act, an attempt to provide permanent legal residence and a path to citizenship for a class of presently-illegal immigrants who had been brought to the United States as children. When efforts to pass the legislation failed in 2018, OSPC senior advisor Angela Kelley told the Los Angeles Times, “If there was helium in the balloon, I think it has been zapped,” and blamed Republicans for having “no clear plan…. Democrats would be wise to hang back and see what they come to them with.”  The group also lobbied against funding for a border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. 
In 2019, OSPC spent more than $100,000 lobbying Congress to pass S.2144, the SECURE Act, and H.R.6, the American Dream and Promise Act. These bills would have directed the Attorney General to adjust the status of any immigrant who had been given temporary protected status prior to 2017 to permit them to stay in the United States as a legal permanent resident. Neither of these bills had been enacted as of April 2020. 
OSPC lobbies for what a spokesman for the organization called “a progressive foreign policy.” In 2017, the group “reported lobbying on a bill (S.2047) that would withhold funds for U.S. military action against North Korea unless authorized by Congress.”  In 2019, it also lobbied for a bill, H.R. 1004, that sought to prohibit U.S. military action in Venezuela, and for H.R. 2037, which would require the Director of National Intelligence to investigate and report on the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Kashoggi by persons associated with the Saudi Arabian government in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. 
OSPC has made grants and lobbied on behalf of changes to federal and state criminal sentencing laws and supported other aspects of criminal justice reform efforts.
In 2010, OSPC supported the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine and provided sentence reductions for many inmates sentenced under the prior laws. The bill passed the U.S. Congress and was signed into law by President Barack Obama. 
In 2014, OSPC gave $1.5 million to support California Proposition 47, which reclassified many state felony crimes as misdemeanors and expanded opportunities for expungement. OSPC also “funneled resources into Vote Safe, an organization created in 2013 to help get Prop. 47 off the ground,” and Soros retained a seat on the board of the organization. 
In 2018, OSPC supported Issue 1 in Ohio, an unsuccessful ballot initiative that would have cut prison time for offenders who completed rehabilitation and education programs, and reduced low-level drug possession felonies to misdemeanors with no jail time. 
OSPC has lobbied Congress in favor of the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2019, which would end transfer of surplus military equipment from the Pentagon to state and local law enforcement agencies, and the Marijuana Justice Act of 2019, an effort by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) to legalize marijuana by delisting it as a prohibited “Schedule I” drug. 
Redistricting and Election Law
In 2016, OSPC gave $300,000 to groups in San Diego that supported that city’s proposed Measures K and L, which require the top two vote getters in city elections in June primaries to go to a runoff in November (previously, city laws had permitted some officials to avoid a November election if they received an outright majority in the nonpartisan June primaries) and also required all city-wide initiatives to be approved in November and not June elections. Because these measures pushed these elections into higher-turnout November elections, the changes appeared “likely, at least in the short term, to help Democrats and hurt Republicans.” Both measures were approved. 
OSPC also gave $300,000 to a group that supported Amendment 1 in Missouri in 2018. The amendment withdrew the power to redraw legislative districts from the state legislature and gave it to an independent demographer hired by the state auditor. 
The same year, OSPC supported Question 1 in Maine, which sought to bring a “ranked choice” voting system in federal and state elections in that state. OSPC founder George Soros’s son Jonathan Soros also gave $100,000 to support the initiative. 
Stephen Rickard is the executive director of OSPC. He is also the director of Foreign Policy Constituency Building at the Open Society Foundations, one of the Soros Network’s grantmaking institutions. Rickard previously served as Washington director for Amnesty International USA. He served as the senior advisor in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of South Asian Affairs during the Clinton administration and worked for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Rickard received his law degree from Yale Law School, an MPA from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a bachelor’s degree from Adrian College. 
Members of the board of OSPC include chair Patrick Gaspard, who is president of the Open Society Foundations, former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa in the Obama administration, former executive director of the Democratic National Committee, and national political director for Obama for America in 2008. Other members include former U.S. Representative Thomas Perriello (D-VA) and two of George Soros’s children, Andrea Soros Colombel and Alexander Soros.