|Profession||Management firm founder|
|Net Worth||$1.55 billion|
|High School||Phillips Exeter Academy|
- 1 Political issues
- 2 Political giving
- 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 text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
|“||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.
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 opposes fracking. 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.
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.
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."
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.
Stance on Democratic candidates
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.
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.
- 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 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 MBA 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
- 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
- National Review " The Greens’ Malleable Principles," March 19, 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
- 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, "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, "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
- 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
- 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
- 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