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George Soros. Photo: Popow/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Responding to a bombshell New York Times piece, the president of George Soros' Open Society Foundations, Patrick Gaspard, said Facebook's "methods threaten the very values underpinning our democracy" in a letter addressed to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

The backdrop: The Times article alleged — among other things — that Facebook utilized a Republican-oriented public relations group to help navigate Washington politics during its user privacy controversies. That group also reportedly singled out Soros, who is often targeted by the right, and Open Society as "the unacknowledged force behind what appeared to be a broad anti-Facebook movement."

The full text of the letter:

Dear Ms. Sandberg: 
I was shocked to learn from the New York Times that you and your colleagues at Facebook hired a Republican opposition research firm to stir up animus toward George Soros. As you know, there is a concerted right-wing effort the world over to demonize Mr. Soros and his foundations, which I lead—an effort which has contributed to death threats and the delivery of a pipe bomb to Mr. Soros’ home. You are no doubt also aware that much of this hateful and blatantly false and Anti-Semitic information is spread via Facebook.  
The notion that your company, at your direction, actively engaged in the same behavior to try to discredit people exercising their First Amendment rights to protest Facebook’s role in disseminating vile propaganda is frankly astonishing to me. 
It’s been disappointing to see how you have failed to monitor hate and misinformation on Facebook’s platform. To now learn that you are active in promoting these distortions is beyond the pale.   
These efforts appear to have been part of a deliberate strategy to distract from the very real accountability problems your company continues to grapple with. This is reprehensible, and an offense to the core values Open Society seeks to advance. But at bottom, this is not about George Soros or the foundations. Your methods threaten the very values underpinning our democracy. 
I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this matter with you in person, and to hear what steps you might take to help remediate the damage done by this deeply misguided--and dangerous--effort carried out at Facebook’s behest. 
Sincerely, 
Patrick Gaspard
President | Open Society Foundations

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the president of George Soros' Open Society Foundations is named Patrick Gaspard, not Paul. We regret the error.

Go deeper

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: Abolishing filibuster would weaken "democracy's guardrails"

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema at the U.S. Capitol building earlier this month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) defended her opposition to abolishing the 60-vote legislative filibuster in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday night, saying to do so would weaken "democracy's guardrails."

Why it matters: There have been growing calls from Democrats, particularly progressives, to overhaul the rules as the Senate prepares to vote Tuesday on Democrats' massive voting rights package. But Sinema writes in her op-ed that if this were to happen "we will lose much more than we gain."

Court blocks California assault weapons ban repeal

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Monday blocked a judge's ruling that overturned California's 30-year assault weapons ban.

Driving the news: U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled earlier this month that the ban was unconstitutional and likened the AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife, but the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has now granted a stay, pending appeal.

Trump Organization sues New York City for canceling contracts

Former President Trump addressing the NCGOP state convention in Greenville, North Carolina, earlier this month. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Trump Organization filed a lawsuit against New York City Monday, alleging that the termination of its Bronx golf course contract following the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot was politically motivated.

Why it matters: The estimated cost of the decision by NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio to end all contracts between the city and former President Trump's family business in response to the insurrection is $17 million a year in revenue.