Democrat Donor Steyer Faces Accusations of Hypocrisy

Thursday, 26 Jun 2014 12:06 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Democratic heavyweight donor Tom Steyer, an environmentalist and vocal opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, is being accused of hypocrisy by opponents who say he made his fortune investing, in part, in fossil fuels.

"This is somebody who really made his fortune largely investing in fossil fuels who now wants to close off the ability to use fossil fuels to a lot of other people who aren't as wealthy," Phil Kerpen, president of the conservative political action committee American Commitment, told Fox News.

Steyer, who has pledged $100 million this year to elect Democrats who are committed to fighting global warming and the construction of Keystone, said Tuesday, "We need to reward people whose behavior reduces climate risk and penalize people who add to it," according to Fox News.

But as a hedge fund manager at Farallon Capital Management, he profited from investments in energy companies. Despite saying in 2012 that he said he was divesting of "ecologically unsound" investments, The Washington Post reported earlier this month that he is only now exiting investments with firms linked to climate change.

Kerpen says Steyer has had a significant influence on the Democratic Party's commitment to climate change which started following a fundraiser at his home in April 2013 attended by President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"I think that's where the hardball really started," he said. "Because we saw a couple weeks after that the Democrats took to the Senate floor and spoke all night about climate change and Tom Steyer applauded them for that."

On Wednesday, Steyer met with the White House to promote his project, Risky Business, which aims to convince American businesses to employ climate-friendly practices.

But some vulnerable Democrats in energy states say it's the White House that is guilty of hypocrisy.

One of them told the Washington Examiner, "If a Republican president did the same thing with the Koch brothers, we would skewer them," Fox News reported.

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