|Profession||Management firm founder|
|Net Worth||$1.55 billion|
|High School||Phillips Exeter Academy|
- 1 Political issues
- 2 Political giving
- 2.1 Republican response
- 2.2 Candidates
- 2.3 Ballot measures
- 3 Personal
- 4 See also
- 5 External links
- 6 Recent news
- 7 References
Steyer and his wife Kathryn Taylor have four children. They have pledged to donate half their fortune to charity. They own homes in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, as well as a 2,000-acre ranch in the coastal town of Pescadero.
Former United States Vice President Al Gore called Steyer "Mr. Tipping Point" regarding the climate change political conversation. Steyer's brother, Jim Steyer, announced in February 2014 that he would also be entering the political arena. "You don’t bring a squirt gun to a fight where the other guys have AK-47s. I will tell you this: We’re fearless," Jim Steyer told Politico in February 2014.
Steyer opposes the Keystone Pipeline. In a February 2014 op-ed he wrote: "If approved, Keystone XL will unlock the Alberta tar sands, spur investment in and production of dirty fossil fuels at an irreversible rate and undermine the President's global efforts to reduce carbon emissions." Steyer said the Keystone pipeline makes "no sense" for the United States government and the world. Steyer argued that the Keystone pipeline would not create jobs, as proponents have argued.
|“||This pipeline does not go to America, but through America. It doesn’t meet the President’s test for approval. I honestly don’t understand how they can approve it.||”|
During the Massachusetts U.S. Senate special election primary in 2013, Steyer's organization NextGen Climate Action ran negative ads critical of Democratic U.S. Representative Stephen Lynch, who supported the Keystone Pipeline. Lynch ultimately lost the primary to Ed Markey, who went on to win the special election.
On April 17, 2014, Steyer issued a "Courage Pledge" via his organization NextGen Climate Action, in which he maintained his opposition to Keystone XL and criticized any individual or entity that supported the project. In the letter, Steyer also weighed-in on non-energy policy areas like minimum wages, healthcare and unions.
Subpoena of executives
Steyer sent a letter to Senator Mary Landrieu (D) requesting that she use her power as chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to subpoena executives of TransCanada. Steyer said in his letter that the prior testimony given by the executives was not good enough.
Appearance on Bill Maher show
In April 2014, Steyer appeared on the HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher. During his appearance, Steyer said he would be happy to debate Charles and David Koch about energy policy. Steyer's organization NextGen Climate Action later posted a petition on its website, challenging the Koch brothers to a debate on climate change. A spokeswoman for the Koch brothers declined the invitation, calling instead for a "free and open debate on the climate issue" within the scientific community.
Criticism over Keystone
Steyer has received criticism for his campaign against the Keystone pipeline. According to U.S. House Representative Lee Terry (R-Nebraska), Steyer would profit personally if Keystone is not implemented. Farallon Capitol, the hedge fund that Steyer founded and resigned from in January 2013, has invested billions in the TransMountain Pipeline System, which would compete with Keystone XL. U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-Louisiana) also accused Steyer of hypocrisy because of the possible financial connection between Farallon Capitol and the TransMountain pipeline. Steyer's spokesman said he has divested himself completely from Farallon. Steyer has not criticized the TransMountain pipeline, focusing his efforts on Keystone XL. A March 2014 ad from the 501(c)(4) group American Commitment compared Steyer and his brother to being the liberal version of Charles and David Koch. The ad was only released online, using a video clip of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) criticizing the Koch brothers for spending large sums of money on campaigns.
On April 18, 2014, the U.S. Department of State announced that it was extending the review period for the Keystone XL project. A new deadline for a decision was not announced. A Politico report indicated the final Keystone decision could be delayed until after the midterm elections. TransCanada officials called the delay "inexplicable", while Republican congressional officials criticized the delay. Steyer said he had nothing to do with the administration's decision.
2008 Financial crisis
Although he previously worked for Goldman Sachs, Steyer criticized the company for receiving preferential treatment from the government during the 2008 financial crisis. In a February 2014 article in Men's Journal, Steyer said his former company "got deferential access and deferential outcomes, and that anybody who doesn't get that is a [expletive] idiot."
Steyer has maintained various positions on fracking. He has said he supports a public vote on whether fracking should be allowed in California. "In California, it takes a two-thirds vote by the Legislature to impose taxes, and in local communities it requires a two-thirds vote to impose taxes," Steyer told delegates at the California Democratic Party's annual convention. "The business community has argued for years that this two-thirds vote is important to make sure they are not taken advantage of. Well, that exact same logic should apply when it comes to fracking," he said.
|“||I am one of the people who believes that we’re going to end up fracking responsibly, and that it’s not a long-term solution, but it’s going to get us to kill coal||”|
Reports appeared in early May 2014 that Steyer was preparing to come out against natural gas, fracking and all fossil fuels. He was reported to be aligned with Jared Polis (D), U.S. House member from Colorado, on anti-fracking policies.
California extraction tax proposal
At an April 9, 2014 town hall in San Jose, Steyer proposed that a tax of 9.9 percent be levied on each barrel of oil produced in California. He said this proposal would generate $1.5 to $2 billion in tax revenue annually, which he proposed to be then paid back to residents as a dividend, similar to the process in Alaska where residents get direct dividends from oil taxes. The proposal was called an "extraction tax."
In October 2013, Steyer published an op-ed with former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, detailing a project called the Risky Business Initiative that they were collaborating on. The initial report is expected to be released in June 2014. According to Paulson, it will look at the economic impact of climate change on various industries and regions. Paulson said: "We like the fact that we came from different political backgrounds. The whole idea was: Let’s stay out of politics."
Clean Energy Challenge
Steyer delivered the keynote address at the Clean Energy Challenge on April 3, 2014. At the event, Steyer said the energy field is awaiting a technological revolution but policy changes are required to create a clean energy economy. "When you make a ton of money off a subsidy, you will fight really hard to keep it. That is what's happening today," he said. The Clean Energy Challenge awarded $500,000 to "help Midwestern entrepreneurs, students and researchers bring new clean energy technology to the market."
In early October 2012, Steyer and other mega-donors were profiled in the Wall Street Journal. Steyer told that newspaper's reporter that until the reporter informed him of this fact, he had had "no idea" that he was #1 on the list of Bay Area political contributors. He also said, "The only times I've gone to a ballot measure was when I felt the system wasn't functioning." A New York Times report in March 2014 mentioned Steyer in the context of big-money donors who are shifting the flow of power in political giving. According to the article, Super PACs are being "overshadowed by donors like Tom Steyer." According to Chris Lehane, a strategist for Steyer, the highly complex California ballot initiatives helped serve as an experiment for an expansion into national politics in 2014. "He didn't necessarily go into California ballot initiatives as if they'd be a beta test for what he's doing nationally, but in effect they served as a beta test," Lehane said.
|“||If you said to me, how much am I willing to spend to make this...the most important issue in the minds of Americans, then I would think $100 million bucks would be very low honestly.||”|
In March 2014, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R) questioned why Harry Reid and other Democratic officials were not criticizing Steyer and his campaign spending, despite the attention they give to the Koch brothers. "I noted with interest the majority leader was hammering the Koch brothers again today, and I wondered why he left out billionaire Tom Steyer, who plans to spend as much as $100 million pushing the issue of climate change in the 2014 election and appears positioned to rival the deep-pocketed Koch brothers. It strikes me as curious that if we are going to demonize people for exercising their constitutional rights to go out and speak and participate in the political process, we would just pick out the people that are opposed to us and leave out the people who are in favor of us," McConnell said.
Steyer told Politico and The Washington Post in April 2014 that he was not a liberal version of the Koch brothers, maintaining that there are "real distinctions" between them. Steyer accused the Koch's priorities of lining up "perfectly with their pocketbooks." Steyer insisted that was not true for him and his goals.
Response in Iowa
After Democratic candidate Rep. Bruce Braley accused challenger Joni Ernst (R) of receiving outside donations, the group American Commitment released an ad questioning the attacks, specifically the money Braley received from Steyer.
In February 2014, Steyer announced that his efforts would also look toward the 2016 elections. His strategy outlined a focus on states where a candidate who supports acting on climate change faces an opponent who is a “denier.”
A February 2014 article in the New York Times profiled Steyer and his plans for the 2014 election season. According to the report, Steyer plans to spend as much as $100 million to pressure federal and state officials to enact climate change laws. The campaign would include attack ads against governors and lawmakers. In February 2014, Steyer hosted a retreat asking donors to raise $50 million which he said he would then match. Among the targets mentioned in the article were Governor of Florida Rick Scott (R) and the U.S. Senate election in Iowa.
According to Betsy Taylor, a leader wealthy climate donors, Steyer’s operation "is going to be very aggressive" and will set itself apart from the efforts of mainstream environmental groups. "They’re fearless. They don’t worry about access to Democratic Party leadership," she said. During the February climate treat, Steyer reportedly mentioned three races that would be targeted in 2014 -- Florida Governor, U.S. Senator from Iowa and U.S. Senator from New Hampshire.
An article in The Economist reported that Steyer would also focus on down-ballot races, such as those for governors and state legislatures. The criteria requires that "something substantive" have a chance of happening if the Steyer-backed candidate wins.
- See also: State legislative elections, 2014
Steyer announced he would spend more than $1 million in California's 2014 legislative elections. According to an August 28, 2014 article in the Sacramento Bee, Steyer planned to devote resources to voter registration and turnout operations for Democratic candidates whose issue values align with Steyer's on environmental causes.
In February 2014, Mary Landrieu, U.S. Senator from Louisiana, said she would find it valuable for Steyer to run ads in her re-election campaign. "It would probably help me in my state if he would run his ads," she said. A March 2014 article in The Hill indicated the Steyer would not support Landrieu because she had come out in favor of the Keystone Pipeline. In addition, his SuperPAC NextGen Climate Action was considering running a negative ad against Landrieu because of her stance on the issue.
Although Steyer said his mission is not to help the Democratic Party, he told NPR in February 2014 that his efforts would likely focus on Democratic candidates. "I am a Democrat. I spoke at the Democratic Convention in 2012. We believe that the Democrats are leading the way on this issue. So it is true that, by and large, we're supporting Democrats. And it is true that when there's a big disparity it tends to be the Democrat who is, in fact, thinking about advanced energy and the need for us to have new and progressive policies. But it isn't true that therefore we are going to go wherever there's a race and support the Democrat. We're going to choose specific races that need our mission," Steyer said.
In March 2014, a consultant for Steyer said that NextGen would not spend money on behalf of Democratic candidates who oppose climate regulation. However, they would not spend money against them.
Virginia gubernatorial race
- See also: Virginia gubernatorial election, 2013
Whatcom County, Washington
Steyer also gave heavily to local races in Whatcom County, Washington. Steyer's organization NextGen Climate Action gave $275,000 to the Washington Conservation Voters Action Fund, which then spent $210,000 on four seats that were up for election in 2013. In 2009, candidates for those seats spent about $7,000 each. Local pundits in Washington called the spending "unprecedented", with some alleging that the money was spent in an nontransparent way that hides how much funding actually poured into the races.
State legislative special election
In 2004, Steyer was among the country's top five donors to the presidential campaign of Democratic candidate John Kerry. He was a delegate to the 2004 Democratic Party presidential nominating convention. In 2008, he preferred Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, but once Obama secured the Democratic Party's nomination, Steyer donated and fundraised for the Obama campaign.
According to an April 2014 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Steyer is planning on supporting a ballot measure in 2016 relating to implementing an oil severance tax. A similar measure in 2006 was defeated by voters 54-46 percent.
- Steyer has so far given $200,000 to support the Insurance Companies Required to Justify Their Rates to the Public Initiative.
- Steyer was the main financial backer behind Proposition 39. He viewed Proposition 39 as closing a loophole. Proposition 39 requires multistate businesses to calculate their California income tax liability based on the percentage of their sales in California. He said, "We have a loophole. It is worth over $1 billion a year. We should close the loophole, and that is what we are doing."
In 2010, Steyer contributed over $5 million to the campaign for a "no" vote on California Proposition 23 and $1 million to the campaign to defeat Proposition 26. According to MapLight, Steyer together with his wife, Kathryn Taylor, were the 3rd largest donors to the ballot proposition campaigns for the November 2, 2010 ballot.
Steyer spent more than $177,000 fighting the California Presidential Electoral College Reform Initiative. That initiative ultimately did not make the ballot.
Steyer resigned on January 1, 2013 from his position as head of the hedge fund Farrallon Capitol. Steyer founded the firm in 1986.Farallon invested heavily in pipelines and coal projects during and after Steyer's tenure with the company.
Steyer grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He attended the Buckley School, Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale, eventually going on to earn an M.B.A. from Stanford. Steyer served as Board Chair of the Advanced Energy Economy Institute.
Boards and service
- NextGen Climate Action
- Donations to California's 2012 ballot propositions
- Donations to California's 2010 ballot propositions
- California Proposition 87, Alternative Energy Oil Tax (2006)
- United States Senate elections, 2014
- NextGen Climate Official Website
- Profile at Forbes
- Official Twitter Feed
- Profile at the Sunlight Foundation's, "Influence Explorer" project
- Powerline, "The Epic Hypocrisy of Tom Steyer," April 20, 2014
- Wall Street Journal, "GOP Trouble in Pennsylvania," February 27, 2014
- Washington Post, "Tom Steyer’s long road to becoming the environment’s donor-in-chief," February 27, 2014
- Open Secrets, "Steyer's $100 Million Would Put Enviros on the Map," February 26, 2014
- Wall Street Journal, "Environmentalist Democratic Donor Plays Hardball Over Keystone" February 14, 2014
- Profile at Men's Journal in March 2014
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Tom + Steyer + California"
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- CNN, "California's hedge fund king," September 17, 2008
- Forbes, "The World's Billionaires: #962 Thomas Steyer," March 5, 2008
- Forbes, "Tom Steyer: Hedge Fund Billionaire's Foray Into Politics," September 21, 2011
- OA Online, " ENERGY MATTERS: Rich environmentalists’ influence," March 13, 2014
- MSNBC, "40 billionaires pledge to give away half of wealth," August 5, 2010
- Politico, "Al Gore calls Tom Steyer ‘Mr. Tipping Point’," February 20, 2014
- Politico, "The Steyer brothers: 'We're fearless'," February 24, 2014
- Center for Public Integrity, "Billionaires use super PACs to advance pet causes," February 5, 2014
- KSPR "Steyer: Keystone is pipeline to dirty future," February 20, 2014
- NPR "Steyer: Keystone XL Pipeline Would Get Canada Better Oil Price," February 24, 2014
- Silicon Beat, "Tom Steyer: Keystone XL doesn’t meet the President’s test for approval," March 13, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- National Review, " The Greens’ Malleable Principles," March 19, 2014
- NextGen Climate Action, "An Open Letter from Thomas F. Steyer," April 17, 2014
- National Review, "The Non-Koch Good Billionaire," April 21, 2014
- New Orleans Times Picayune, "Out-of-state billionaires for me, but not for thee: James Varney," March 28, 2014
- The Hill, "OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA flexes power over waterways," March 25, 2014
- Daily Caller, "Democrats’ Billionaire Sugar Daddy Tom Steyer Challenges Koch Brothers To A Debate," April 25, 2014
- Vancounver Observer, "Billionaire vs. billionaire: Tom Steyer challenges Koch Bros. to energy debate ," April 26, 2014
- NextGen Climate, "Call on the Koch brothers to have a public debate on climate change," April 2014
- Kansas City Star, "Koch brothers decline invitation to debate climate change," May 2, 2014
- Washington Times, "Rep. Lee Terry: Billionaire Tom Steyer poised to profit from blocking Keystone XL pipeline," March 27, 2014
- Fox News, "Critics accuse Keystone foe of hypocrisy over oil investment history," June 27, 2013
- Daily Caller, "Tom Steyer: The shady billionaire with millions of reasons to kill Keystone XL," October 8, 2013
- Forbes, "Keystone XL Amounts To America's Pipeline Vs. President Obama's Cronies," August 20, 2013
- Washington Post, "New GOP ad hits ‘Steyer brothers’ as Democrats’ own Koch brothers," March 31, 2014
- NPR, "Keystone XL Pipeline Review Extended By State Department," April 18, 2014
- Politico, "Keystone decision delayed yet again," April 18, 2014
- RealClearPolitics, "Tom Steyer: No, I Had Nothing To Do With Obama's Keystone Pipeline Decision," April 26, 2014
- Men's Journal, "Tom Steyer: An Inconvenient Billionaire," March 2014
- Business Insider, "HEDGE FUND BILLIONAIRE: Anyone Who Doesn't Think Goldman Got Preferential Treatment During The Crisis Is An Idiot," February 20, 2014
- Sacramento Bee, "March 8, 2014," Tom Steyer calls for public votes on California fracking
- University of Texas, "Unprecedented Measurements Provide Better Understanding of Methane Emissions During Natural Gas Production," September 16, 2013
- Wall Street Journal, "Tom Steyer's Glass House," April 24, 2014
- Free Beacon, "Steyer-Funded Study Boosts Fracking," September 17, 2013
- North Central PA, "Is Billionaire Steyer Taking Aim at Obama’s Policy on Natural Gas?," May 6, 2014
- Bloomberg, " Steyer Pushes Oil Tax to Pay Dividends to Californians ," April 9, 2014
- Washington Post, "We need climate-change risk assessment," October 3, 2013
- Forbes, "Why Mike Bloomberg Teamed With Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson And Hedge Fund Billionaire Tom Steyer On A Project Called "Risky Business"," April 3, 2014
- E&E Publishing, "Steyer, NRG's Crane share visions for energy industry's future," April 4, 2014
- Business Wire, "Clean Energy Trust Presents Tom Steyer, David Crane at 2014 Clean Energy Challenge," February 27, 2014
- Wall Street Journal, "We Don't Need More Foreign Oil and Gas," January 24, 2012
- Wall Street Journal, "New Players Amp Up Political Giving," October 3, 2012
- New York Times, "Big-Money Donors Demand Larger Say in Campaign Strategy," March 1, 2014
- National Journal, "Meet the Newest Member of the Super PAC Billionaires Club," March 10, 2014
- Los Angeles Times, "McConnell says liberal California billionaire just like the Kochs," March 4, 2014
- Politico, "Tom Steyer: I’m not the Koch brothers," April 22, 2014
- Politico, "Climate billionaire aims to set stage for 2016" February 18, 2014
- New York Times, "Financier Plans Big Ad Campaign on Climate Change," accessed February 17, 2014
- NBC News, "Wealthy climate-change activist to spend millions on midterms," February 19, 2014
- Politico, "Tom Steyer planning $100 million campaign push," February 18, 2014
- The Economist, "A run for his money," April 12, 2014
- Sacramento Bee, "Tom Steyer plans to spend money on legislative races," August 28, 2014
- Washington Post, "Tom Steyer’s super PAC runs ad against Sen. Marco Rubio," April 25, 2014
- National Journal, "Could Tom Steyer's Anti-Keystone Campaign Help Mary Landrieu? She Thinks So.," February 17, 2014
- The Hill, "In midterms, a battle of billionaires," March 17, 2014
- NPR "Billionaire Steyer Puts Money Toward Climate, Energy Issues," February 24, 2014
- Washington Post, "Rich donors press Democrats on climate change," March 2, 2014
- Huffington Post, "Billionaire Climate Change Activist Tom Steyer Plans $100 Million Ad Push In 2014 Elections," February 19, 2014
- Fiscal Times, "Clash of the Billionaire Titans," February 18, 2014
- National Review, " Steyer Strikes Blow against Small-Town Unions," May 6, 2014
- Northwest News Network, "Washington Governor Finds Wealthy Partner In Fight Against Climate Change," May 6, 2014
- Washington Post, "Tom Steyer’s long road to becoming the environment’s donor-in-chief," February 27, 2014
- San Francisco Chronicle, "Tom Steyer skewers oil industry with new Tax Day ad (VIDEO)" April 15, 2014
- Dallas Morning News, "Billionaire environmentalist wants California to enact 'extraction tax' on energy companies," April 9, 2014
- Los Angeles Times, "Insurance rate-hike initiative gains high-profile backers," May 1, 2012
- MapLight, "$147 Million Spent on California's Nov. Ballot Measures," November 5, 2010
- Washington Post, "Buffett and Shultz, allies of Obama and Steyer, endorse Keystone pipeline," March 3, 2014
- Washington Post, "Calif.'s Prop 23 battle pits Big Oil against environmental concerns," October 21, 2010
- Huffington Post, "Koch Brothers Accuse Democrats Of Being Backed By Evil Koch-Like Brothers," March 31, 2014
- Fort Mill Times, "Clean Energy Trust Presents Tom Steyer, David Crane at 2014 Clean Energy Challenge," February 27, 2014
- Center for American Progress, "CAP Board of Directors," accessed March 22, 2014
- Los Angeles Times, "Obama gets tough -- with liberals," December 9, 2010
- Washington Post, "Former White House adviser Van Jones lands new D.C. gig at liberal think tank," February 24, 2010