A woman accusing Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct has been falsely tied to billionaire Democratic donor George Soros by some members of the conservative media in an attempt to discredit her allegations against the Supreme Court nominee. Deborah Ramirez did not receive a fellowship from one of Soros foundations in 2004. Another woman with the same name, a law professor at Northeastern University, did actually receive the award.
Soon after The New Yorker published its report on Ramirez’s accusations Sunday night, supporters of Kavanaugh began spreading screenshots claiming to show that Ramirez had connections to Soros, who has become a boogeyman to many on the right. The screenshots showed a biographyt from a speaking engagement involving the Northeastern professor, which stated, “In 2004, she was selected as a Soros Senior Fellow by the Open Society Institute.” The Open Society Institute is a grantmaking network founded by Soros.
The Deborah Ramirez who did receive the fellowship from Soros is a professor of law at Northeastern University. She has taught at the school since 1989 after working as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Boston U.S. Attorney’s Office and at a private law firm. She graduated from Northeastern in 1977 with a degree in political science and then attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1981. She used the grant from the Soros foundation to bring together a “conference of social scientists, lawyers, community stakeholders, and law enforcement to discuss, describe and document the best practices in racial profiling data collection and analysis.”
While the law professor Deborah Ramirez was finishing law school, Debbie Ramirez was in high school in Connecticut. She then attended Yale University with Kavanaugh, where she studied sociology and psychology. She did not study law, never went to law school and has never been a law school professor. The Debbie Ramirez who accused Kavanaugh has lived in Colorado for several years, not Massachusetts, where Northeastern is located. There is no evidence she has ever received a grant, fellowship, funding or a scholarship from Soros or any of his foundations.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Claim That She Was Tied to Soros Spread Quickly on Social Media & Tweets & News Articles Featuring the False Claim Remain Online
Some conservative voices on Twitter with large followings shared the false information about Deborah Ramirez and George Soros on Monday. National Review columnist John Fund tweeted, “Irony of this is just too great. New Yorker article on new Kavanaugh accuser, Deborah Ramirez, leaves out tie to George Soros. Ramirez got 2003 Soros Justice Fellowship to strengthen understanding between law enforcement and Arab, Muslim, and Sikh communities. h/t Quin Hillyer.”
The tweet remained up for several hours after he was called out by many on Twitter, including CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski. The tweet was retweeted and liked thousands of times before it was taken down.
Fund later tweeted, “Correction: Soros Fellowship went to another Deborah Ramirez in Boston, a professor at Northeastern University. Sincere apologies.”
He had picked up the information from another columnist, Quin Hillyer, who later tweeted, “Note: I just deleted a Tweet indicating that accuser Ramirez was a Soros Senior Fellow. I am told it might be a different Deborah Ramirez. If so, I apologize.”
Others continued to tweet the misinformation well after Fund and Hillyer took down their tweets. Jacob Wohl, who has a verified Twitter account with more than 100,000 followers, tweeted, “I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the new Kavanaugh accuser, Debbie Ramirez, runs a Soros-backed SJW organization. It’s also just a coincidence that Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer committed that from their story.” He appears to have meant omitted. He later tweeted, “Daily Caller: Kavanaugh accuser Deborah Ramirez was a Soros Fellow,” but did not link to any story. The Daily Caller published a post debunking the Soros connection. It was retweeted more than 100 times, before Wohl deleted it.
News articles, including one by the “Shad Olson Show” that remains on the first page of search results for “Deborah Ramirez George Soros,” continue to put forward the false claim that Ramirez is connected to the liberal donor.
Ramirez Has Acknowledged She Is a Democrat Who Fights for Social Justice, but Says She Isn’t Motivated by Politics
Debbie Ramirez has not denied being a registered Democrat. She told The New Yorker she “works toward human rights, social justice, and social change.” But she told The New Yorker she wasn’t motivated by politics.
Ramirez is being represented by Stanley Garnett, a former Democratic district attorney in Boulder, Colorado, where she now lives. “She’s as careful and credible a witness as I’ve encountered in thirty-six years of practicing law,” Garnett told The New Yorker.
Ramirez is married and has been a volunteer and board member at Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, which helps victims of domestic violence, NBC News reports. She and her husband, an engineer at a Boulder tech company, have been married since 2007.
According to a Facebook post on the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence page, Ramirez has worked as a volunteer coordinator since 2002, when she started as a court advocate volunteer. “At SPAN I have found a community of people that I cherish. We are all different, we are all valued and we all are committed to creating a world that is just and equitable for everyone,” she wrote.
SPAN issued a statement on Monday saying, “We know Debbie Ramirez to be a woman of great integrity and honor. We stand by her and her courageous decision to come forward. It is never simple or easy for survivors to share their experiences. To do so in the face of public scrutiny requires a level of personal strength that is true to the person Debbie is. She has our support, our respect, and our admiration.”
The First Accuser Against Kavanuagh, Christine Ford, Was Also Confused With Another Woman of the Same Name by Members of the Conservative Media
The other woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, was also the target of misinformation put forward by members of the right-wing media. Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, was confused with another California professor with the same name. The other woman’s negative Rate My Professor reviews were shared widely on social media as being those of Ford.
A link to a conservative news website, Grabien, was shared by The Drudge Report, falsely claiming that Ford had been savaged by students in their reviews. The tweet also included a quote saying “something is wrong with her.” The tweet and article remained online for several hours before the tweet was deleted and the story retracted.
“We’ve since learned there are two Christine Fords working in clinical psychology in California and we wrote this report about the wrong Christine Ford,” Grabien wrote on the redacted story page. “We regret not going to greater lengths to ensure this was indeed the same Christine Ford. Please do not share this article with anyone (and if you have, delete it/withdraw it); we are only leaving the page up so you can see this important update.”