National media outlets have joined with Shift in pointing out here and here that California billionaire Tom Steyer is a hypocrite. Normally liberal writers have reported that Steyer is a rich man largely because of huge investments in the very fossil fuels he now conveniently rails against– especially those that don’t keep making him money.
Well, that’s not all, a new investigation reveals that Steyer’s powerful Democrat friends in D.C — whose campaign war chests he generously fills — also have a bit to do with his highly profitable business endeavors.
“Steyer, who founded and led Farallon until late 2012, has used his fortune to elect Democratic senators and governors. He has pledged to spend $50 million of his own money in 2014 and to raise another $50 million.
“Among the beneficiaries of his political largesse is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). “We want to support Nancy as much as we can,” Steyer said in an interview last year.
Nancy Pelosi has, in turn, dutifully returned Steyer with “support” of her own. Steyer’s investment firm (Farallon) has been the beneficiary of federal subsidies for a “light rail project designed to stimulate commercial and residential growth in Mission Bay,” a key real estate holding acquired by Farallon for $343 million deal in 2004. The Free Beacon,
“By last year, Pelosi had steered more than a billion dollars in federal financing to San Francisco’s Third Street light rail project, which provided Mission Bay with previously unavailable public transit access.
“The bulk of that financing came in 2012, months before Steyer gave up day-to-day control at Farallon (he remains invested in Farallon funds). Pelosi announced that she had helped secure $967 million to expand San Francisco’s Central Subway system.”
Of course, sometimes other people might want to object when a federal officials is so blatantly helping out a political donor, but someone like Nancy Pelosi didn’t get into her position by letting facts stop her. Pelosi’s intervention for the benefit of Steyer’s already considerable pocketbook was not without obstacles. In 2005, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency found that the light rail project “would be wasteful and inefficient.” The project faced the axe because it did not meet “Federal Transit Authority standards for cost-effectiveness in order to secure federal subsidies.” Luckily for Steyer, Pelosi made the problem go away by obtaining “an exemption from those standards in a 2005 transportation funding bill.”
So, while Steyer spends his time these days trying to save the planet, you can remember that some of the money he is using to help his friends – including our own state’s Jay Inslee– came from your taxes.