A front-page story in The New York Times this week confirms that California billionaire Tom Steyer is collaborating closely with Washington State Democrat Governor Jay Inslee to target state legislative races during this fall’s elections. As the Times reports, this likely means the influx of “hundreds of thousands of dollars for each candidate — a huge amount for a Washington State race.”
For months, Secure Our Fuels has noted that Governor Inslee faces bipartisan opposition to plans to impose costly climate initiatives — like a Low Carbon Fuel Standard that would hike the price of gas at the pump — from members of the Washington State legislature. Earlier this year, Gov. Inslee announced he was willing to play political hardball and would do whatever it took to impose the Inslee/Steyer agenda, even if that meant circumventing the state legislature — whether through executive order, through targeting state legislators in the upcoming November elections, or through initiatives at the ballot box.
We also knew that Tom Steyer and Governor Inslee have been working together behind closed doors for quite some time. Whether it was the private fundraiser that Shift uncovered where Governor Inslee attended an “intimate,” closed-door fundraiser at the home of Tom Steyer late last year – with “a small group of 20 to 30 high-profile philanthropists interested in climate and energy” — or a private lunch at the Governor’s mansion, the two have been tied together for some time.
Also of particular interest, pointed out by the Times, is the level of coordination with other national environmental groups to impact state and local elections. As the Times reports:
Mr. Steyer’s advocacy group, NextGen Climate, is working with the Washington League of Conservation Voters to handpick Democratic, pro-climate policy candidates across the state…“We’re working to give Jay the Legislature that he needs,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the national League of Conservation Voters. “The state senators are the obstacles.”
This revelation comes less than a week after a new report by the Minority Staff of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works shows millions of dollars being funneled through national organizations to impact policy and elections both at the state and national levels.
What the Times story does not report is how much of these same tactics are being used in Oregon as well. Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber appears to have just as close of a relationship with Tom Steyer as Inslee does, and faces the same bipartisan opposition within his state legislature.
Given that we now know the extent of the influence of anti-energy billionaire activists to impact policy in the state of Washington, it’s more important than ever before for state groups like Washingtonians for Sound Fuel Policy to stand up and provide the facts about the high costs of these extreme agendas. Meanwhile, Secure our Fuels will continue to help put the spotlight on these efforts as The New York Times and others further expose the goals of national groups to impose costly measures on American families.