Ramaswamy did not receive money from George Soros, although he did win a scholarship for law school in 2011 from the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. The late Paul Soros was George Soros' brother. Paul Soros made his fortune separately from George Soros, through Soros Associates, a provider of port planning, engineering and installation services. However, George Soros — who made his money as an investor and through his hedge funds — did handle some of Paul Soros’ investments and helped increase his fortune.
Vivek Ramaswamy, a U.S. Republican 2024 candidate for president, has long been in the news for holding controversial views — including his advocacy of?eliminating birthright citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants and "gutting" the H-1B visa system to hire skilled foreign workers. He has taken?other right-leaning positions over the course of his campaign for the Republican Party nomination, including criticizing university affirmative action policies that consider race as a factor in admissions, and encouraging a race-blind meritocracy instead.?
However, for all his conservative views, Ramaswamy's past has come under a microscope within his own party, particularly concerning a rumor that he received funds from a notable supporter of left-leaning causes, billionaire George Soros.?
For example, a Reddit post from August 2023 asked, "Trump supporter here, Vivek is my 2nd choice. But is it true that he's received money from George Soros? I keep reading all over social media that Vivek is secretly a Soros puppet."
Based on publicly available information, Ramaswamy did not receive money from George Soros, though he did receive scholarship money to attend law school through a fund that was founded by Paul Soros, George Soros' brother.?
George Soros, who is an outspoken proponent of progressive causes and donates large sums of money to those causes, has long had a reputation as a "boogeyman" in conservative circles, and has frequently been the subject of antisemitic conspiracy theories. We have covered several such theories, including claims that Soros was secretly influencing?sexual misconduct accusations against former U.S. President Donald Trump.?
Paul Soros, who died in 2013, was known as a philanthropist and an advocate for immigrants to the United States. In?2011, Ramaswamy was a recipient of the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, which funds postgraduate students who are immigrants and children of immigrants. Ramaswamy received the fellowship "to support work towards a JD in Law at Yale University."?
The fellowship's?website?offers more detail about the program:
Paul and Daisy Soros, Hungarian immigrants and American philanthropists, established their Fellowship program for New Americans—immigrants and children of immigrants—in December of 1997 with a charitable trust of fifty million dollars. They created the program as a way to give back to the country that had afforded their family such great opportunities.
Mr. and Mrs. Soros decided on a fellowship program because it allowed them to assist young New Americans at critical points in their educations, which they felt was an unmet need. They also wished to call attention to the extensive and diverse contributions of New Americans to the quality of life in the United States.
Both Paul and George Soros appear to have made the bulk of their considerable fortunes independently. Paul Soros set up Soros Associates as a leading international provider of port planning, engineering and installations, and at one point wrote that at the age of 65 his taxable income exceeded $100 million. George Soros became a billionaire through his investments and hedge funds. While the brothers' businesses were considered separate, Paul Soros?participated in?lucrative investments with George Soros, according to a 1998 New York Times article?about their relationship:?
Friends have estimated George Soros's personal fortune at $5 billion, made through his hedge funds; Paul Soros would not enter into any speculation about the amount of that fortune, or his own. He works today with his brother, calling himself a ''global capitalist'' -- buying companies and investing with George.
''Any deal I am in, he comes in on,'' Mr. Soros said, although he isn't in on all of George's deals.
Ramaswamy has publicly addressed questions about receiving money from Paul Soros. News anchor Mehdi Hasan asked him in an early September 2023 interview about his ties to the scholarship:
Hasan: You say you're anti-identity politics, anti-affirmative action in a party that hates the Soros name, yet you accepted a Paul and Daisy Soros scholarship at law school that was specifically set up for the children of immigrants. It was an affirmative action scholarship and your defense for that is that you didn't have the money to pay for law school even though you'd already made over a million dollars at the time.?
Ramaswamy: That's not true. My defense of that is [...] if someone gives you a merit scholarship at the age of 24, you take it. [...] I didn't say I didn't have the money, I said at a time when I had a lot less money than I have now, $50,000 was still useful money to make.?
Me: "Did you not make 750,000 dollars?"
Vivek Ramaswamy: "Not at the time I had applied for the [Soros] scholarship."
Me: "Yes you did Vivek. This is awkward for you because you did. I've got the tax returns in front of my face."#receipts
New clip ???pic.twitter.com/xkFSwIeCne
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) September 7, 2023
Ramaswamy also addressed the issue in a Sept. 12, 2023, interview with James O'Keefe, founder of the right-wing activist group Project Veritas, who asked him to respond to conservative critics who believe he is "secretly a Democrat." Ramaswamy said:
There was a scholarship that I won back in 2010 by a guy who was related to George Soros, his last name is Soros. He was his brother who made his money independently, who's dead by the way. That offers a generic scholarship or they're one of the funders of a generic scholarship, that at the age of 24 I unthinkingly accepted 50,000 bucks. I'll take that. That's the Soros connection.
While not as overt or generous in his support of liberal causes as his brother George, Paul Soros did donate money to Joe Biden in 2006, according to Open Secrets. Mainly, though, Paul Soros' philanthropy appears to have?focused?on the above grants for U.S. immigrants.?
While Ramaswamy has publicly acknowledged receiving the funds from a Soros family member, he has also been accused of attempting to hide the connection. A Mediaite report from May 2023 stated that he paid a Wikipedia editor to scrub his fellowship from the Wikipedia page. An editor who goes by "Jhofferman" disclosed having been been "paid by Vivek Ramaswamy for their contributions to Wikipedia."
Tricia McLaughlin, a representative for Ramaswamy, confirmed to HuffPost that the campaign had asked for changes, but they were revisions of "factual distortions" on "a number of topics, including family members' names."?
Arguing that "all of this information is Googleable," she added, "it makes sense to clear up lies and deception planted by the very folks who appear to have planted this story."?She also accused Ramaswamy's rival candidate's supporters for spreading this story: "It's telling that the DeSantis Super PAC promptly distributed this misleading story ― says a lot about where this non-story came from."
McLaughlin also told Fox News in August 2023: "Vivek won a generic scholarship that hundreds of students win to attend graduate school. It was funded by a relative of George Soros who is long dead. Vivek would have been a fool to turn down that scholarship – anyone who would have shouldn't get anywhere near the White House doing trade deals."
Ramaswamy has acknowledged receiving a fellowship from Paul Soros, brother of George Soros. We have seen no evidence that he has accepted funds from George Soros. We therefore rate this claim as "False."?