Billionaire Targets U.S. Culture

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LONDON: Although hounded by Russia as a CIA spy and wanted in Asia for driving down currency values, the activist financier George Soros isn't showing any signs of giving up yet. He's now targeting American social problems with a lot of initiatives likely to draw retaliation on several fronts. TIME's William Shawcross reports in this week's cover story that Soros is giving $15 million over five years to groups that oppose America's "war on drugs"; $5 million in grants to help cut the incarceration rate; $50 million to help fellow immigrants get citizenship; $20 million to improve care for the dying and $25 million to conduct a vast "social experiment" in the city of Baltimore.

"Our drug policy is insane. And no politician can stand up and say what I'm saying, because it's the third rail instant electrocution," says the multi-billionaire and Holocaust survivor, who added that he feels obliged to speak out when the world will listen. "I'm in a unique position," says Soros. "Therefore I have to do these things."