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Policy: Environment & Energy

Tom Steyer is having fundraising trouble for his global warming, anti-Keystone XL agenda

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Climate Change,Ashe Schow,Keystone XL,Energy and Environment,Global Warming,Tom Steyer

Billionaire Tom Steyer pledged to raise $50 million to make climate change and opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline a 2014 campaign headache for the GOP.

It's not going very well.

“[Steyer's] super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, has raised just $1.2 million from other donors toward that goal, according to still-unreleased figures that his aides shared with Politico,” wrote Politico's Andrew Restuccia and Kenneth P. Vogel. “And he appears to be struggling to woo wealthy allies in his effort to compete with big-money conservative donors - leading some supporters to question whether his fundraising goal is realistic.”

“So far, the only really big donor to the Steyer cause is Steyer himself,” they added.

Ouch.

Now, NextGen did say that the $1.2 million jumps to $4.48 million if you include donations to other Steyer-affiliated groups, including a 501(c)(4) that doesn't have to disclose its donors and helps fund anti-Keystone XL pipeline work among other causes.

But even that is less than 10 percent of Steyer's goal.

Raising donations to oppose Keystone XL is especially difficult, considering only hardcore leftists oppose its construction, according to a Pew poll from June 26. Further, combating climate change consistently ranks pretty low on the list of Americans' top priorities.

Another -- huge -- hurdle for Steyer to overcome is the fact that pro-Keystone XL lobbying vastly outweighs anti-Keystone XL lobbying.

The oil and gas industry alone filed more than four times the number of lobbying reports for Keystone XL than environmentalists filed against it. And of the top 10 lobbying groups on Keystone XL, nine are in favor of the pipeline.

Steyer’s own wealth may be working against him as well. He’s already said he was willing to spend as much as $100 million of his own money to combat global warming and Keystone XL, so why would he need anyone else’s money?

Still, Steyer does have plenty of money and influence to make a difference, even if he doesn’t reach his $50 million outside money goal or make global warming a top election issue.

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Author:

Ashe Schow

Commentary Writer
The Washington Examiner

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