(The Center Square) — A PAC founded by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares supported some winning prosecutorial candidates in the most recent elections, and plans to keep building momentum throughout 2024.
The mission of the Protecting Americans Action Fund is to help conservative, “enforce-the-law” prosecutors defeat liberal, “social justice” prosecutors – often backed by billionaire and Democratic financier George Soros – in elections to state offices across the country.
The PAC was active in two Virginia commonwealth’s attorney campaigns and one Pennsylvania race where its candidates won or in the lead. Phillip Blevins, who has worked for the local commonwealth’s attorney’s office since August 2022, was elected for Smyth County over Paul Morrison. Steve Zappala was re-elected as the District Attorney of Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County over the county’s former chief public defender, Matt Dugan.
In Virginia’s Loudoun County, the fund worked to support Bob Anderson, the county’s commonwealth’s attorney from 1996-2003, against Buta Biberaj, the incumbent commonwealth’s attorney elected in 2019.
Anderson led Biberaj by just over 1,000 votes after initial results came in, but that amounted to less than a 1% difference – in Virginia, eligible for a recount.
During Biberaj’s tenure, violent crime has risen in Washington, D.C., and that increase seems to be spilling over into some neighboring Northern Virginia localities. Loudoun County appeared to be resistant to that trend when its crime rate for Part A offenses – crimes against persons and property including homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle thefts – dropped 11% in 2020 and another 9% in 2021. From 2021-22, however, Part A offenses saw a 20% jump – consistent with surrounding areas – bringing it back to near-pre-pandemic levels.
Because of Biberaj’s emphasis on alternatives to incarceration, some Republicans saw her as soft on crime.
She worked with law enforcement and schools to “end the school-to-prison pipeline” by “reducing the number of days a student is out of school, expulsions, detentions, and out-of-home commitments,” according to her campaign website. She also shifted the focus of her office to prosecuting violent crime, leaving lower-level misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes in the hands of local law enforcement. As a result, her office has cut daily incarceration numbers by about 60%, from 425 to 250.
Her most notorious failure was allowing a man who had been charged with assault and abduction to be released on bond in July 2021. In September 2021, he allegedly killed his wife with a hammer.
Biberaj has accused opponents of “cherry picking” cases to criticize her record, which she defends and believes in, according to the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
Looking at her 2019 and re-election campaigns, Biberaj’s top donor, according to the nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project, was the Justice and Public Safety PAC, a political action committee with ties to Soros.
Soros heavily backed Pittsburgh prosecutor Dugan, investing nearly $2 million in his campaign as of Nov. 1, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Miyares’ PAC, which goes by the Protecting Americans Project Action Fund on X, congratulated Anderson and Zappala on their victories on Wednesday, Nov. 8, though results had yet to be finalized for Anderson.
In 2022, the PAC supported candidates in six states and won 70% of its races. A video on its website calls for help in 2023 and 2024 electing more “enforce-the-law prosecutors.”