Elections

Liberal Billionaire Says He’s The Little Guy Fighting Big Money Conservatives

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer compared himself to David in a David and Goliath-like fight against wealthy conservative groups working to influence climate policy issues.

“I see this as a David and Goliath situation, Steyer, who earned his billions as a hedge fund manager, said in an interview on This Golden State, a podcast hosted by with former journalist and communications consultant Randy Shandobil.

Republicans have always had so much money to toss around during election-time, Steyer said.

He added: “They’ve always been so capable of building influence around the country through money. Regardless of what I do, or what Democrats do, we’re gonna get outspent by a lot. That’s just a fact.”

Shandobil, a Democrat, disclosed his relationship with the California billionaire, and was also upfront before the interview that his company, Shandobil Communications, “produced seven ads paid for by Steyer.”

The chummy relationship aside, Shandobil found the comparison hard to believe, considering Steyer is one of the wealthiest men in the country. He has contributed nearly $40 million of his own cash to political candidates, according to OpenSecrets.org.

“I’ve heard of David and Goliath situations, and this may indeed be one. But you do have a billion-and-a-half dollars,” Shandobil told Steyer, incredulously. “That’s an interesting David.”

The green billionaire funnels most of political donations through his political his political action group, NextGen Climate Action, which spent about $20.7 million in independent expenditures in 2014, mostly opposing Republican candidates

Steyer’s money accounts for nearly 100 percent of NextGen’s entire political war chest, a number totaling more than $7,000,620. He has given the group $7,000,000.

Steyer has also used his money to wield influence inside the Democratic National Committee, rendering moot much of his claim that he is merely a small fry flailing away at wealthy conservatives.

The Energy and Environment Legal Institute, for instance, published a report in July showing Steyer has managed to use his tens of millions of dollars in donations to environmental groups, candidates and political parties in an effort to make the U.S. coal-free.

Steyer funded the Democratic National Committee, according to the report, and the purchase of the Democratic National Committee’s 2016 campaign platform on climate change and renewable energy. The DNC, the report states, “adopted the Steyer agenda word for word.”

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