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Steyer, Steyer, green pants on fire

Paul Taylor

California billionaire Tom Steyer built his fortune operating a hedge fund founded in 1986 but is now focused full time on liberal-progressive politics and environmentalism. He sold his Farallon Capital hedge fund in late 2012. Last February he gathered partisan progressive election donors and declared that Steyer plans to spend upwards of $100 million to elect Democrats in this year's off-year elections. He spent $11 million to support the election of Clinton-era Terry McAuliffe as governor of Virginia in 2013, and has been involved with several environmental measures on the California ballot over the past few years. Steyer has become one of the most vocal opponents of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline. Tom Steyer wants to go from hedge fund success to “political action committee” (PAC) wedge-issue fund success.

Steyer is all in to help progressive Democrats in the war against climate carbon. Steyer was the biggest super PAC spender last year, dropping $11.1m into his two groups. This year he will invest at least $50m in the NextGen Climate Action Committee. The money will be spent to help elect politicians who share Mr Steyer’s environmental views, or kick out those who do not. Steyer ranks number 1,146 in Forbes list of billionaires, while his arch Republican political enemies, Koch Brothers Charles and David, rank as Forbes number 6 billionaires. (Forbes, January 2014)

Consistent with progressive activism, Tom Steyer is a greenie-come-lately climate campaigner, and ultimate system gamer who depends on government subsidies and renewables mandates that make his “green” energy investments profitable. However, he was a major investor in fossil-fuel energy producer Kinder Morgan, which is building a competitor to the Keystone XL pipeline. But Steyer’s green hypocrisy is even bolder. He has been a staunch opponent of fossil fuels, especially coal. And, this fits with his current economic interests – idling coal-fired power plants will boost the value of his renewable energy project investments.

Tom Steyer owes much of his fortune to having been one of the world’s largest financers of coal projects. Typical of progressives’ intellectual dishonesty, Steyer was for coal before he was against it. Reliable Asian and Australian sources have reported on how Steyer got rich on coal, with a report titled “Hypocrisy & Hedge Funds: Climate Change Warrior Tom Steyer’s Secret Life as Coal Investment Kingpin.” (, April 2014)

It has also been reported that Tom Steyer’s ultimate political goal is to run for the California Governor’s office. But, his riding an aging green wave to political power is doubtful due to: 1) the public’s exhaustion and skepticism with climate crusaders, and 2) the growing costs of renewable energy mandates and their inherent performance deficiencies. Funding a PAC to buy Democrat politicians’ adherence to the climate orthodoxy will likely fail, especially in a time of chronic dishonesty and policy failures of the Democrat Party.

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