Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta added billionaire mega-donor Tom Steyer to the shortlist of candidates to head the Department of Energy in a September, 2008 email exchange.
Podesta told Cassandra Butts, who was serving on President Obama’s transition team, that he would “add Tom Steyer, Farallon Capital, Tim Wirth, maybe mayor hickenlooper of denver,” to the list of potential candidates.
The email exchange between Butts and Podesta was part of the 2,050 emails released by Wikileaks on Friday.
Steyer is ranked as the largest political contributor in either party by OpenSecrets, with all of his nearly $40 million in contributions going to liberal and Democrat candidates and organizations.
Butts emailed Podesta a list of candidates being considered for lead positions at both the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy and asked for his “thoughts and additions.”
On 9/24/08, Cassandra Butts <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
John, to follow are some of the names that have come us as we have consulted on top candidates for Energy and EPA. We’d appreciate your thoughts and additions. Needless to say, your name has come up repeatedly in our consultations. Best, Cassandra
-Gee, Robert W.: From 1997 to 2000 he served as Assistant Secretary for
Policy and International Affairs and as Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy; oversaw the operation of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and the national research program to develop and demonstrate advanced clean coal, natural gas, and petroleum technologies.
-Jackson, Shirley Ann: Former chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission;current president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute-Holstein, Elgie
-Learner, Howard: executive director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, a Chicago-based environmental legal advocacy group that has been a key player in setting up the region’s cap-and-trade program for global warming.
Podesta responded by dismissing several of the proposed candidates and adding several names, including Steyer.
On 9/24/08, John Podesta <email@example.com> wrote:
Gee, pershing are asst sec types not higher. Holstein maybe as deputy not top job. Jackson has a good rep, AA woman, should be considered. Immelt seems impossible to me. Maybe commerce but very unlikely at energy.
I’d add Tom Steyer, Farallon Capital, Tim Wirth, maybe mayor hickenlooper of denver.
At epa 3 more katie mcginty, just left pa enviro office, ian bowles, mass epa, dan esty at yale.
The 2008 Obama transition team eventually selected Steven Chu for the Department of Energy and Lisa Jackson to head the EPA.