Fox Pushes False Soros Vote-Rigging Conspiracy Theory

Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

FoxNews.com recently promoted the internet-based conspiracy theory that financier and philanthropist George Soros will somehow corrupt vote counting in the United States through a Spanish company, Scytl, "that Soros owns a big share of." The conspiracy is false: Soros has no involvement or investments in the company.

During the May 14 edition of the FoxNews.com program Campaign Insiders, Doug Schoen read co-host Pat Caddell a viewer question asking if "there was any truth to the report that a Spanish company doing the vote count -- counting for the U.S. national election, has been engaged to do that and that it is a Soros-controlled."

After admitting that he hasn't "done enough work on it," Caddell still claimed Soros was "an investor in it" and that "this raises a problem":

CADDELL: I haven't done enough work on it, but my understanding is he's an investor in it, and it's very involved in many of the places which are used for vote counting. And this raises a problem because in the electronic ages, we find with Twitter and everything else, the danger of how to manipulate voting machines, electronic machines now, is so much greater than the old days when you had the old, you know, pull a lever.

Co-host John LeBoutillier, a conspiracy theorist and former Republican congressman, later expanded on the conspiracy, stating: "I think in this charge, was that it's a Spanish company that Soros owns a big share of, has bought this thing called SOE, which is involved in the vote counting in Florida." LeBoutillier added that "if there's any chance that's true" the Florida government should investigate -- a point Caddell agreed with.

"George Soros has nothing to do with Scytl," said Michelle Shafer, director of communications & government affairs at Scytl USA & SOE Software, in an email to Media Matters.

"There is absolutely no relationship there. He is not an owner of or investor in Scytl, nor does he have anything to do with SOE Software, a Tampa, Florida based provider of election technology solutions, purchased by Scytl earlier this year. I am not sure where this rumor started but it is completely false and without merit."

Scytl is a Spanish-based company that has contracts with governments here and abroad. The company acquired Florida-based SOE Software earlier this year. An information sheet provided by Scytl states that "SOE Software has been working in 25 states to provide election management tools that include online pollworker training and election night reporting solutions to over 900 state and local election jurisdictions. Neither Scytl nor SOE Software currently provide election tabulation products, polling place voting equipment or Internet voting solutions in the United States."

The Soros-voting machines conspiracy has been circulating on the internet and in chain e-mails for the past few months. The chatter was enough for conservative columnist Michelle Malkin to devote a column shooting down the conspiracy about Soros and Scytl, imploring conservatives to stop "worrying about manufactured scares" (despite her warning, Malkin still plugged the work of discredited conservative activist James O'Keefe).

Soros is a philanthropist who has donated to numerous progressive causes. He donated $1 million to Media Matters and recently pledged to donate $1 million to American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC headed by Media Matters founder David Brock. Because of his political involvement, Soros has frequently been the target of conspiracy theories and smears.

Conservatives, including O'Keefe and Fox News personalities, have pushed false and exaggerated stories of voter fraud in recent years.

From the May 14 edition of FoxNews.com's Campaign Insiders:

SCHOEN: Here's the question from Mr. Yost to you, Pat. Pat, did you happen to check to see if there was any truth to the report that a Spanish company doing the vote count -- counting for the U.S. national election, has been engaged to do that and that it is a Soros-controlled, or Soros --

CADDELL: I haven't done enough work on it, but my understanding is he's an investor in it, and it's very involved in many of the places which are used for vote counting. And this raises a problem because in the electronic ages, we find with Twitter and everything else, the danger of how to manipulate voting machines, electronic machines now, is so much greater than the old days when you had the old, you know, pull a lever.

LEBOUTILLIER: By the way, one of the emails that Doug got after last week's show, and I'm not sure --

CADDELL: But we also have the Ohio one where, by the way, a Republican groups --

LEBOUTILLIER: That was Diebold. Diebold.

CADDELL: -- supporting George Bush was attacked. You should have no one has -- I don't know about any foreign firm -- if you appear to use these voting machines, they should literally be supervised and have absolutely no contact with anybody. Nobody should be able to be any taint of partisanship once or ever.

LEBOUTILLIER: But I think in this charge, was that it's a Spanish company that Soros owns a big share of, has bought this thing called SOE, which is involved in the vote counting in Florida. If there's any chance that's true, the governor of Florida --

CADDELL: Should intervene.

LEBOUTILLIER: -- and board of elections should check it out.

Posted In
Elections, Voting Rights & Issues
Network/Outlet
FoxNews.com
Show/Publication
Campaign Insiders
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