Apparently, the only thing bigger than billionaire Tom Steyer’s political checkbook is his ego.
In a failed attempt to buy politicians who accept his extreme green agenda, San Francisco leftist billionaire Tom Steyer spent $74.4 million in the last election cycle. That’s the most of any single donor and nearly triple the amount from the second highest contributor.
While other media outlets love to scourge the Koch Brothers, you don’t hear much about mega-donor Tom Steyer, yet there’s plenty to tell about his hypocrisy. However, now that Steyer’s more or less thrown his hat in the ring as a possible contender to replace Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate, other media types may finally put him under the scrutiny he deserves.
It’s hard to imagine someone worse for California than Barbara Boxer, but Steyer does a good job fitting the bill.
Does this sound like the profile of someone that would appeal to liberal voters?
Steyer is a coal baron who made his fortune on fossil fuels, which he now decries. He also was a part of the Goldman Sachs firm that, many say, helped usher America to “the collapse of the economy in 2008”. Now that he’s sitting on piles of money, (which incidentally he helped build with tax havens to avoid paying his fair share) he’s pushing policies that will ultimately drive up energy costs for hardworking families.
He claims to have divested from fossil fuels but he hasn’t made his tax returns public. There’s good reason not to put much stock into what he says. He’s had quite the track record of stretching the truth.
Last year, Steyer promised to spend $100 million on political races through his Super PAC ($50 million raised from donors, and he’d match the other half). When asked last spring if he disputed the $100 million figure, Steyer said the figure was actually “very low”. The Los Angeles Times called him out on his fib about raising $50 million this past election cycle (he fell far short of that goal).
His Super PAC, Next Gen, had several ads fact-checked by independent analysts who said they were false, half-true and not justified by reality. In fact, the Washington Post gave a Next Gen ad “Four Pinocchios,” its lowest rating, reserved for “whoppers”.
This aristocrat, who grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth (nannies, elite prep schools, Upper East side housekeepers and summers in Nantucket), doesn’t practice the green agenda he preaches.
According to the New York Times, his investment firm (ironically named after shark-infested waters), Farallon Capital Management, invested hundreds of millions of dollars in dirty energy projects that use more than the amount of coal consumed annually by Britain.
Steyer spent the months leading up to the November elections traveling coast-to-coast and even got caught on tape leaving a New Orleans climate change speech in a gas-guzzling SUV.
You see, Steyer doesn’t have to reduce his giant carbon footprint because he believes he’s better than you. He’s said so much himself. He thinks most Americans are not “super-sophisticated” and he wants to “penalize” those who don’t follow his extreme agenda.
In a surprising twist, even though Steyer has been the Democrats’ Daddy Warbucks, he’s having a hard time securing the base.
Gale Kaufman, a prominent California Democratic consultant, told the National Journal, “He’s laid no foundation anywhere in the state, and few know him—including many of the Democratic Party players, beyond the cocktail party level.”
New Republic featured a column opposing a Steyer candidacy. And Salon featureed a piece entitled, “Don’t do it, Tom! The case against Steyer for Senate,” which had this gem:
Billionaires tend to be highly self-regarding, but given that Steyer is almost essentially universally loathed by Republicans and is viewed with suspicion by many fellow Democrats, it’s exceedingly difficult to envision how he’d be able to assemble the coalition necessary to get a climate bill passed.
Moreover, from a purely strategic, bench-building perspective, Sen. Steyer makes little sense.
Steyer has a powerful ally, State Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, who teamed up with him to pass a billion-dollar, job-chasing tax hike (Proposition 39). Steyer has appeared with de León and the Governor at several public events, most recently the Governor’s inauguration.
De León even shut down the Senate during the busy final week of the legislative session (as they were considering green bills) so Democrats could meet with Steyer.
With a relationship like that, wouldn’t you expect de León to issue a ringing endorsement of Steyer? Well, that’s not what the Senate Leader signaled to the press when he told the Associated Press that “the contest should reflect the state’s diversity and Southern California ‘has to be part of this equation’.”
With liberal friends like that, how does Steyer need enemies?
Steyer seems likely to plunge head-first into a Senate bid. As a spectator sport, this promises to be quite the show.