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Meet Tom Steyer: The Man Stopping Keystone

- May 6, 2014


Billionaire Tom Steyer Has Said He Will Spend $100 Million During The 2014 Election, “Seeking To Pressure Federal And State Officials To Enact Climate Change Measures.” “A billionaire retired investor is forging plans to spend as much as $100 million during the 2014 election, seeking to pressure federal and state officials to enact climate change measures through a hard-edge campaign of attack ads against governors and lawmakers.” (Nicholas Confessore, “Financier Plans Big Ad Campaign On Climate Change,” The New York Times, 2/17/14)

  • $100 Million Is “Not A Ceiling” For Steyer. “Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer is laying plans to go big in the 2014 election. The former hedge fund manager is hoping to spend $100 million — $50 million from his personal fortune and $50 million from other donors — to make climate change a top-tier issue in the election, The New York Times is reporting. A person close to Steyer confirmed the $100 million figure to POLITICO but cautioned that it is not a ceiling.” (Andrew Restuccia, “Tom Steyer Planning $100 Million Campaign Push,” Politico, 2/18/14)

 “A Long-Time Donor To Democratic Causes, Thomas Steyer's Contributions To Federal And State Elections Have Topped $40 Million Over The Years, According To Influence Explorer.” (Peter Olsen-Phillips, Nancy Watzman and Jacob Fenton, “Reversing Trend, Democrats Top The List Of Biggest Super PAC Donors,” Sunlight Foundation, 2/4/14)

  • In 2012, Tom Steyer Bundled At Least $50,000 For The Obama Campaign. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 5/5/14)
  • In 2012, Steyer Donated $500,000 To The Democratic National Convention, “Five Times The Committee's Professed Limit On Contributions.” “According to the disclosure report, Thomas Steyer, the president of the San Francisco-based hedge fund Farallon Capital Management, gave $500,000 five times the committee's professed limit on contributions.” (Michael Biesecker, “Dem Convention used Corporate Cash, Despite Pledge,” The Associated Press, 10/18/12)


Just Last Week,  “Some Of The Deepest Pockets In The Democratic Donor World” Met In Chicago At A Conference “Designed To Help Them Decide Where To Channel Millions Of Political Dollars.” “Some of the deepest pockets in the Democratic donor world are huddling, starting Sunday, in Chicago for a conference designed to help them decide where to channel millions of political dollars.” (Lynn Sweet, “As Democratic Donors Gather In Chicago, GOP Takes Aim,” Chicago Sun-Times, 4/26/14)

  • Tom Steyer Attended The Democracy Alliance Meeting.  “Some of the country’s biggest Democratic donors — including Tom Steyer and Jonathan Soros — are huddling behind closed doors next week in Chicago with union bigwigs and progressive superstars like Bill de Blasio to plan how to pull their party — and the country — to the left. The setting is the annual spring meeting of the Democracy Alliance, a secretive club of wealthy liberals that’s the closest thing the left has to the vaunted Koch brothers’ political network.” (Ken P. Vogel, “The Left’s Secret Club Plans For 2014, 2016, “Politico, 4/24/14)

A Couple Of Weeks Ago, Obama “Pulled A Classic Campaign-Year Move” And “Punted” On Keystone. “The Obama administration pulled a classic campaign-year move Friday: It punted on the Keystone XL pipeline.” (Andrew Restuccia, “Keystone Non-Decision Keeps Some Democrats On The Hot Seat,” Politico, 4/18/14)

  • According To A Report In Rolling Stone, Sources In The Administration Have Said Obama “Has All But Decided To Deny The Permit For The Pipeline.” “Although no final decision has been made, two high-level sources in the Obama administration told me recently that the president has all but decided to deny the permit for the pipeline – a dramatic move that would light up Democratic voters and donors while further provoking the wrath of Big Oil.” (Jeff Goodell, “Obama’s Last Shot,” Rolling Stone, 4/23/14)

Steyer Has Demonstrated His Ability To Influence The Obama Administration On The Keystone Pipeline

Steyer Has Been Pressuring The Obama Administration On The Keystone Pipeline.  “Along with some other environmentally inclined donors, he has been pressuring President Barrack Obama to oppose the pipeline, including running an anti-keystone ad during Obama’s recent state of the union address.” (Peter Olsen-Phillips, Nancy Watzman and Jacob Fenton, “Reversing Trend, Democrats Top The List Of Biggest Super PAC Donors,” Sunlight Foundation, 2/4/14)

  • “Last April He Hosted A Fundraiser For The DCCC Featuring The President At His House In San Francisco, Where He Reportedly Pressed Him On The Issue.” (Peter Olsen-Phillips, Nancy Watzman and Jacob Fenton, “Reversing Trend, Democrats Top The List Of Biggest Super PAC Donors,” Sunlight Foundation, 2/4/14)
  • In 2013, Steyer Said He Had “‘Bugged Those Guys’ At The White House Over Keystone.” “Asset manager and Obama donor Tom Steyer said he had ‘bugged those guys’ at the White House over Keystone but had not been told where the president would come down on the issue. ‘I think this is a decision that people are going to remember for a long time,’ he said. ‘I would say he owes himself a good decision on this, not his supporters.’” (Jean Chemnick, “Thousands Rally, Try To Pressure Obama On Keystone XL,” Greenwire, 2/18/13)

Steyer’s “Wealth And His Political Connections” Have Allowed Him To Play A “Critical” Role In Shaping The Obama Administration’s Energy Policy.  “But it’s not as if Steyer, 55, needs an official government perch to make an impact. Armed with his wealth and his political connections, Steyer has played a critical behind-the-scenes role in helping shape the country’s national energy policy.” (Juliet Eilperin, “Billionaire Has Unique Role In Official Washington: Climate Change Radical,” The Washington Post, 2/17/13)

  • At The Beginning Of His Second Term, Steyer Spoke With “Obama About How To Pursue Climate And Energy Policy.” “He has helped bankroll two successful ballot initiative campaigns in California since 2010, including one last fall that closes a corporate tax loophole and steers $500 million toward energy-efficiency projects for each of the next five years. He has funded initiatives at the Brookings Institution and the Center for American Progress, along with major research centers at Yale and Stanford. And he has spoken with President Obama about how to pursue climate and energy policy in a second term.”(Juliet Eilperin, “Billionaire Has Unique Role In Official Washington: Climate Change Radical,” The Washington Post, 2/17/13)

Steyer Political Advisor Chris Lehane: “Obama Administration Officials Appreciate The Fact That Steyer Has No Only Been A Generous Financial Supporter But Also Has Combined His Business And Political Acumen To Score Electoral Wins.” “Chris Lehane, one of Steyer’s political advisers and a former aide to both Bill Clinton and Al Gore, said Obama administration officials appreciate the fact that Steyer has not only been a generous financial supporter but also has combined his business and political acumen to score electoral wins.”(Juliet Eilperin, “Billionaire Has Unique Role In Official Washington: Climate Change Radical,” The Washington Post, 2/17/13)


Tom Steyer Managed Farallon Capital Management For Over 20 Years

Tom Steyer Founded Farallon Capital Management In 1986. “Steyer founded Farallon Capital in 1986 with $15 million in seed money.” (Josh Richman, “A Big Wallet Versus The Big Guns,” Los Angeles Times, 11/18/12)

Steyer Served As Managing Partner Of Farallon Until The End Of 2012. “Another hedge-fund billionaire is calling it quits.  Tom Steyer, who is also an environmental activist and Democratic fundraiser, is retiring at the end of the year from Farallon Capital Management, the $20 billion San Francisco-based firm he founded some 26 years ago.” (Michelle Celarier, “Hedgie Steyer Hanging It Up,” The New York Post, 10/23/12)

Under Steyer’s Management, Farallon Invested Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars In Energy Companies, Including Keystone’s Biggest Competitor

Tom Steyer “Made A Fortune In Oil Investments” And “Invested In A Rival Pipeline That Would Compete With Keystone.” “Yes, the influential activist spearheading the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline has made a fortune in oil investments. Yes, he's invested in a rival pipeline that would compete with Keystone.” (Alexander Panetta, “Tom Steyer Addresses Keystone Motives,” The Canadian Press, 12/14/13)

Under Steyer’s Leadership, Farallon Held Stock In Coal Plants, Nuclear Plants, And Oil And Gas Companies In Texas, Oklahoma And Louisiana. “So-called powerhouse Democratic donor Tom Steyer, who has donated $5 million to defeat Prop 23, which would suspend green power in California, runs an investment firm that holds stock in ‘dirty coal’ and nuclear plants, oil and gas companies in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Additionally, Steyer’s investment firm holds stock in the leading photovoltaic solar panel supplier in California, Yingli Green Energy Holding Company of China.” (Wayne Lusvardi, “Prop. 23 Foe Profits From “‘Dirty Coal,’” Cal Watchdog, 10/28/10)

  • Farallon Also Invested In Overseas Energy Companies, Including The Second-Largest Coal Company In Indonesia. “Farallon is active abroad too, having opened its first international office in 1998. Today it has offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Moscow, and London. Non-U.S. successes include the restructuring of Indonesia's largest bank; the funding of Indiabulls, a publicly traded real estate company in India; and most recently an investment in the second-largest coal company in Indonesia, Adaro, which went public this summer.” (Adam Lashinsky, “California's Hedge Fund King,” CNN Money, 9/22/08)
  • According To A May 2013 Report, Farallon Had $440 Million Invested In Oil And Gas Companies – 10 Percent Of Its Equity Portfolio – While Steyer Was Senior Managing Partner. “Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that while Steyer was senior managing partner at Farallon, the firm owned stock in 10 oil and gas companies for a total value of $440 million, or about 10 percent of Farallon's publicly disclosed equity portfolio.” (Darwin Bondgraham, “Can a Billionaire Who Got Rich Investing in Big Oil Fight Big Oil?,” Washington Spectator, 5/15/13)

One Of Farallon’s Biggest Investments Was In Kinder Morgan, A Pipeline Company Planning To Expand The Keystone XL Pipeline’s Biggest Competitor. “One of Farallon's biggest holdings is in U.S. pipeline company Kinder Morgan, which has plans to expand a major competitor to Keystone -- the TransMountain pipeline. It carries tar sands oil from Edmonton to British Columbia's west coast for export to Asia.” (John Roberts, “Critics Accuse Keystone Foe Of Hypocrisy Over Oil Investment History,” Fox News, 6/27/13)

  • Farallon Had $117 Million Invested In Kinder Morgan In 2012. “Among Farallon's largest fossil-fuel holdings as of last year were a $211 million stake in Nexen Inc. and $117 million in shares of Kinder Morgan, Inc.” (Darwin Bondgraham, “Can a Billionaire Who Got Rich Investing in Big Oil Fight Big Oil?,” Washington Spectator, 5/15/13)

Steyer No Longer Has An Ownership Position In Farrallon, “But The Firm Still Invests His Money And He’s The Equivalent Of A Limited Partner.” “That October, Steyer officially stepped down from running Farallon. He no longer has an ownership position in the company, but the firm still invests his money and he’s the equivalent of a limited partner.” (Ryan Lizza, “The President And The Pipeline,” The New Yorker, 9/16/13)

“After Being Criticized By Some Republicans For Holding Some Investments In The Fossil-Fuel Industry, Including Stock In Kinder Morgan, Which Has Proposed Extending A Rival Pipeline To Keystone, Steyer Said That He Would Fully Divest His Portfolio Of Its ‘Dirty Energy’ Holdings Within A Year.” (Ryan Lizza, “The President And The Pipeline,” The New Yorker, 9/16/13)


In 2008, Tom Steyer, An Early Hillary Clinton Devotee And “Protégé” Of Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, Was Rumored To Be On Clinton’s Short List To Replace Hank Paulson At Treasury. “As a protégé of former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and an early Hillary Clinton supporter who stayed with her until the end, Steyer certainly would have been on the short list to succeed Hank Paulson at Treasury if Clinton had gone all the way. In an Obama administration, he'd be a long shot for the top fiscal policy job, but could still find a significant role.” (Adam Lashinsky, “California’s Hedge Fund King,” CNN Money, 9/22/08)

In 2008, Steyer Supported Clinton Until The End Of Her Candidacy.  “In 2008, Steyer initially supported Hillary Clinton — to the very end of her candidacy — and then began to bundle for Barack Obama.” (Jaimie Fuller, “Tom Steyer’s Long Road To Becoming The Environment’s Donor-In-Chief,” The Washington Post, 2/27/14)

Tom Steyer And His Brother – Who Has A Long History With The Clintons – Have Partnered With Clinton On Post-State Department Initiatives

“Steyer And His Brother, Jim, Are Currently Partnered With The Bill, Hillary And Chelsea Clinton Foundation On An Early Childhood Education Initiative Called ‘Too Small To Fail’ -- The First Project That Hillary Clinton Undertook After Leaving The State Department.” (Jonathan Allen, “Clinton Keystone Dodge Prompts Donors To Rethink Support,” Bloomberg, 3/11/14)

Jim Steyer Has “Close Ties To Hillary Clinton.” “California activist Jim Steyer is following his billionaire little brother into national politics — he’s launching a political advocacy group, and a super PAC may follow. Steyer, 57, a children’s advocate with close ties to Hillary Clinton, hasn’t quite figured out how to stage his debut as a major player. But he promises it will be memorable.” (Stephanie Simon and Caitlin Emma, “The Steyer Brothers: ‘We’re Fearless,’” Politico, 2/24/14)

  • Jim Steyer Had Chelsea Clinton As A Student And Hired Her As A Research Aide. “Jim Steyer made many of those connections while teaching political science classes at Stanford over the past 25 years. His former students include New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and National Security Adviser Susan Rice. Steyer also taught Chelsea Clinton and can’t stop raving about her. She was a ‘star student’ he said, impressing him so much that he hired her as a teaching assistant and research aide.” (Stephanie Simon and Caitlin Emma, “The Steyer Brothers: ‘We’re Fearless,’” Politico, 2/24/14)
  • “Steyer Was Close With The Clintons Long Before Chelsea Arrived On Campus. He Met Hillary Clinton 25 Years Ago, He Said, Through Her Work For The Children’s Defense Fund. He Raves About Her, Too.” (Stephanie Simon and Caitlin Emma, “The Steyer Brothers: ‘We’re Fearless,’” Politico, 2/24/14)


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