Meet Tom Steyer, the man being hailed as the “liberal analogue” to the Koch brothers in the political arena.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that the hedge fund billionaire’s super PAC — NextGen Climate Action — is set to spend in the neighborhood of $100 million in the 2014 midterm elections to back candidates who support policies Steyer’s convinced himself will help stop global warming. Here are 13 facts you might want to know about him:
1.) Steyer’s super PAC looks to spend $100 million to influence elections in 2014, with $50 million of those funds coming directly from him. It’s not clear how successful that money will be, however. A Pew poll from last year asked voters to comment on 20 different issues. In terms of importance, global warming came in 20th. This year, global warming fared only slightly better in the poll, ranking 19th out of 20.
2.) With a fortune estimated at $1.4 billion, Forbes ranked Steyer as the 352nd richest man in America.
3.) The Washington Post’s fact checker gave the anti-Keystone Pipeline ad produced by Steyer’s super PAC “four Pinocchios,” its worst rating. “The Fact Checker takes no position on whether the Keystone pipeline would be good or bad, but this ad does not even meet the minimal standards for such political attack ads,” the article concluded. “It relies on speculation, not facts, to make insinuations and assertions not justified by the reality.”
4.) Steyer’s hedge fund, which he stopped managing in 2012, invests in companies that he now rails against. One of the companies his hedge fund invests in even stands to benefit if the Keystone Pipeline is not approved. According to a report in The Canadian Press, since stepping down, Steyer has “instructed that his carbon-emitting investments be sold off.”
5.) When John Kerry lost to George W. Bush in 2004, Steyer was so distraught that he reportedly held a wake at a nightclub.
6.) So overwhelmed with the importance of raising taxes on the rich, Steyer reportedly choked up during an interview with CNN Money in 2008 when discussing the issue.
7.) Steyer was a protégé of former Secretary of the Treasury Bob Rubin when they both worked at Goldman Sachs.
8.) Steyer’s brother thinks the Obama administration should listen to his brother “because he is smarter and richer than they are.”
9.) Steyer has a stellar academic resume. He was reportedly in the top of his class at Phillips Exeter Academy, Yale and Stanford Business School. He played soccer while an undergraduate at Yale.
10.) The global-warming alarmist backed Bill Bradley over Al Gore during the 2000 Democratic presidential primary.
11.) Steyer backed Hillary Clinton in 2008 during the presidential primary, only switching to Barack Obama when Clinton finally dropped out. His name has been floated — though it’s not clear by whom — as a possible treasury secretary or energy secretary in a Clinton White House.
12.) Ironically, liberal activists at Yale and Stanford, who invest some of their endowments with hedge fund Steyer founded, protested his fund for investing in companies, which they argued treated their employees unfairly and harmed the environment.
13.) Steyer thinks the Koch brothers are evil. Because of his conservative activism, Steyer says that David Koch is “taking the most incredible risk that I’ve ever seen someone take, of going down in history as just an evil – just a famously evil – person!”