Energy

Podesta Wanted Enviro-Billionaire For Energy Pick Over Obama’s Picks

(REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Hillary Clinton political operative John Podesta suggested environmental billionaire Tom Steyer head the Energy Department in 2008, according to emails released Monday by WikiLeaks.

Podesta, the chairman of Clinton’s Democratic presidential campaign, has been the target of WikiLeaks illegally obtained emails. The former Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton condemned the hacked emails, suggested they were not authentic and said he doesn’t know where the emails are coming from.

He is the current chair of Center for American Progress, an ultra liberal think tank based in Washington, D.C. The emails showed Podesta, while helping then-president elect Barack Obama choose members of his cabinet, favored well-heeled environmentalist Tom Steyer to serve as secretary of energy.

Steyer, who made his billions as a hedge fund manager at investment firm Farallon Capital, has become somewhat of a household name in Democratic circles. He has donated tends of billions of dollars to liberal and environmental causes for several years.

The Wall Street investor turned environmentalists philanthropy has not gone unnoticed by Clinton and the Democratic Party.

Steyer’s money heavily influenced the Democratic National Committee’s 2016 campaign platform on climate change and renewable energy, according to hacked Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails uncovered in July by free market group the Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal).

The new party platform mirrors the green billionaire’s objectives, in that it requires the U.S. to generate at least half of its energy from non-carbon-emitting sources such as solar and wind by 2030. The DNC “adopted the Steyer agenda word for word, “according to E&E Legal.

Steyer and his political action group, NextGen Climate Action, wrote a report earlier this year titled, “Fact Sheet: Powering America With More Than 50 Percent Clean Energy by 2030.”  The recommendations in the reports are shown here alongside the planks developed earlier this week by the Democratic Party.

The Democratic donor plowed more than $7 million of his hedge-fund fortune into NextGen, which plans an aggressive campaign to turn out voters to help Clinton and others in the party. The donation raises his total contributions this year to the Democratic machine to $40 million.

Podesta wanted the administration to scratch Republican General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt from consideration and replace him with Steyer. Podesta is also the current chair of Center for American Progress, an ultra liberal think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Immelt, who was on Obama’s economic advisory board in 2009, “seems impossible” as an energy leader, Clinton’s right-hand man wrote in an email to Obama’s then-campaign adviser, Cassandra Butts.

Butts wanted the Democratic operative’s opinion on a slew of candidates for positions at the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. “Maybe Commerce but very unlikely at Energy,” he added.

Obama eventually scrapped Steyer and Immelt, and went instead chose Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winner, to head-up the Energy Department. Nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz is now heading the position.

Podesta didn’t let up. He continued to push for Steyer in 2013 after Chu left, telling reporters at the time  the wealthy environmentalist’s “got the right skill set, the understanding and attitude to lead an energy transformation in this country.”

“I think he would be a fabulous choice for energy secretary,” Podesta, who also served as Steyer’s adviser, said in 2013, “and I’ve let my friends in the administration know that.”

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