Hypocrisy: Cal Dems Take Tom Steyer Mega-Checks

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
Newport Beach, CA

Democrats hypocritically blame the Supreme Court for the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) ruling that supposedly allows money to dominate politics, but the biggest checks are being written to Democrats by Californian hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer.

The former coal-and-oil hedge-fund manager and now anti-carbon advocate contributed $75,424,834 exclusively to Democrats and liberal causes in the 2014 election cycle.

That was about three times the amount given by the next biggest contributor, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who gave $28,549,392 with only 95 percent going to Democrats and liberal causes, according to the non-partisan Open Secrets blog.

Steyer is kicking off his effort to shape California politics even farther leftward during the 2016 election cycle. He’s writing checks to the state Democratic Party to fund a digital organizing tool for activists across the state to boost the number of registered voters, as well as to engage existing voters and potentially increase Democratic turnout.

Steyer also gave $250,000 to fund the Democrats’ “Mobilize, Organize, Elect” project. The Sacramento Bee reports that the money is expected to pay for the services of a shadowy political contractor named Political Data, Inc., which intrusively profiles individual voters’ web activity. Steyer piously says his efforts are to support grassroots organizing to ensure that the “voice of the people” is heard in November.

Although Steyer will never be confused for having Hispanic roots, last week he also was named co-chairman of the Washington-based Latino Victory Fund. Campaign funding reports are not available yet, but Steyer is believed to have written a big check to the group.

Steyer was also recognized on January 20 at a signature-gathering event held at Sacramento’s McClatchy High School for being one of the top financial supporters of a $2-per-pack tobacco tax increase initiative trying to qualify for the November ballot.

Steyer, as the Senior Hedge Fund Managing Partner for San Francisco’s Farallon Capital Management, left the investment business and cashed out a decade of personal income in 2012 at a fraction of the normal tax rate by taking advantage of the hedge fund “carried interest” rule.

Steyer immediately used his checkbook to form his advocacy group, NextGen Climate Action, which has committed to spending up to $100 million fighting fossil fuels’ impact on climate change.

But the SEC reported that a big piece of the profits Farallon made were off of a $440 million portfolio of coal, oil and natural company stock. When asked why now opposing the industry is not hypocritical, he described his new found activism as “my personal version of  the Biblical ‘Paul on the road to Damascus‘ accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.”