Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer is endorsing a California proposition directing the state’s legislature to overturn the Citizens United decision, according to a Wednesday report from the Los Angeles Times.
The Democratic money man is tossing his support behind a measure that would, if passed, overturn the 2010 Supreme Court case allowing companies the constitutional right to spend untold amounts of money on political elections, according to a tweet by LA Times’ congressional reporter Sarah Wire.
— Sarah D. Wire (@sarahdwire) September 6, 2016
Proposition 59 has received a surprising amount lot of push back from California’s liberal precincts despite the general loathing Democrats hold for Citizens United.
The LA Times’ editorial board called the proposition a “radical step” that could potentially affect an organization’s constitutional rights.
The paper’s writers asked in an editorial Wednesday whether “corporations lose only free-speech rights or other rights as well, such as the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures at their places of business or to due process of law if they were sued?”
Steyer’s political action committee, NextGen Climate Action, meanwhile claims Prop 59 would go along way toward giving power back to individual Americans.
“Corporations and far-right individuals spend billions every year to put their profits ahead of the best interests of people, and Steyer believes democracy works better when people — rather than corporations — have the power,” a spokesman with NextGen told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
NextGen spent about $20.7 million in independent expenditures in 2014, mostly opposing Republican candidates. Steyer has spent more than $13 million so far this election year, according to OpenSecrets.org.
Steyer’s donations account for nearly 100 percent of NextGen’s entire political war chest, an amount totaling more than $7,000,620. Steyer has given the group $7,000,000
Conservative groups aren’t buying Steyer’s argument, and have called him a hypocrite for demeaning money in politics while using his wealth to sway public policy.
Jeremy Adler, the Communications Director of Republican Super-PAC American Rising Squared, said in a statement to TheDCNF that Steyer’s opposition to Citizens United is like the “Cookie Monster throwing away his cookies.”
Adler added: “As the largest donor in politics who is using his own Super PAC to boost his name ID in advance of a run for office, it’s absurd for him to claim opposition to Citizens United when he uses the decision to benefit himself at every turn.”
Steyer, who earned his billions as a former hedge manager, told Bloomberg TV in July that the country needs financial reform, if not to restore the political system to the people, than at least to make certain that “self-interested” businessmen can’t purchase the government.
He deflected his influence on Democratic politics, telling the Bloomberg TV anchors that his money is based on strong values, not self-interest, and plays a smaller role than other billionaire organizations.
He has spent more than $13 million so far this election year, according to OpenSecrets.org.
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