Billionaire Tom Steyer, America’s top political contributor and probable 2018 Democrat gubernatorial candidate, is well on his way to spending over $150 million to get the best state government his money can buy.
The former hedge fund manager made his fortune as the founder of Farallon Capital Management L.L.C, which funded, among other investments, international coal-fired power plants. But Steyer claims to have had an epiphany, and now supports a green agenda that includes sustainable education, farm-to-table meals for schools, reducing pollution-induced asthma, and addressing climate change.
Despite Steyer becoming America’s biggest individual political contributor in the 2014 midterm elections by contributing over $74 million exclusively to Democrats, according to Politico, he was stunned when Republicans made huge gains at the state level, picking up control of 31 governorships and nearly 70 percent of the legislative chambers around the nation.
Undeterred, and whispering that he is preparing to run for Governor of California in 2018 as a Democrat, Steyer has led the formation of a $50 million Super PAC that will rely on support from public employee unions and the AFL-CIO to register new Democrats, back Democrat candidates, promote environmental causes, defeat Donald Trump and build a permanent liberal spending infrastructure.
Steyer participated in an April meeting in San Francisco of the “Democracy Alliance,” where his NextGen Climate organization joined 30 organizations including the AFL-CIO, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association. Steyer has also formed a Super PAC called “For Our Future PAC,” which plans to raise $150 million over the next five years to “reduce the influence of money in elections.”
Honoring his promise to “open his wallet even wider,” Steyer — under the name “Thomas & F. & Kathryn Ann Fahr LLC/Tom Steyer” — is 2016’s largest individual political donor, with $31,521,132 in cash contributions to Democrats. That was over $12 million more than the next largest campaign contributor.
Steyer self-righteously claims he must take a political stand because of Republican calls for tax cuts that would only “benefit the wealthy.” But he never acknowledges that he made the bulk of his $1.61 billion fortune through the infamous “carried interest” tax loophole, which allows hedge fund principals to convert all their personal income, which otherwise would be taxed at about 39.3 percent, to capital gains taxed at 15 percent. Steyer recently told his new union brothers and sisters, “There’s a huge fight in California between large-scale economic interests and the people.”
Steyer claims that his focus is on electing Democrats in seven battleground swing states. But he has also been building broader name recognition and local support by spending $50,000 in coordination with the Orange County Democratic Party to accelerate voter registration and help two candidates win Democrat control of the Fullerton City Council on August 8.
Demonstrating that Steyer’s money buys love even in a Republican stronghold, Democrats now control 11 of Orange County’s 34 cities, up from 5 in 2015. Steyer proclaimed at an August 8 gathering of about 50 Democrats in a roundtable session at the Plumbers & Pipefitters Union Hall Local 582 in Orange, “2016 is such a critical year.”