Don’t Call Tom Steyer the Liberal Answer to the Koch Brothers

Tom Steyer introduces a panel during the National Clean Energy Summit 6.0 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on August 13, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 
National Journal
Clare Foran
Feb. 24, 2014, 12:49 p.m.

Tom Stey­er doesn’t want to be labeled the lib­er­al ver­sion of the Koch broth­ers, a pair of heavy-hit­ting liber­tari­an fin­an­ci­ers who have long backed con­ser­vat­ive can­did­ates.

In an in­ter­view with NPR’s Morn­ing Edi­tion, Stey­er ar­gued that he and the Koch broth­ers have dif­fer­ent mo­tiv­a­tions.

“I want to draw some very, very big dis­tinc­tions between me and the Koch broth­ers. The Koch broth­ers are push­ing ideas that dir­ectly be­ne­fit them. They’re push­ing things where it is go­ing to res­ult in their pock­et books be­ing a lot fat­ter,” Stey­er said. “If you just simply look at what they’re sup­port­ing and what the im­plic­a­tion is for their busi­nesses…they’re aligned and that’s not true of me,” he ad­ded.

The New York Times re­por­ted earli­er this month that Stey­er hopes to pour up to $100 mil­lion in­to the midterm elec­tion cycle in sup­port of can­did­ates with a strong re­cord fight­ing cli­mate change.

That push has promp­ted com­par­is­on between Stey­er and the Koch broth­ers. But Stey­er is res­ist­ant to such claims.

“We really strongly be­lieve we are an­swer­ing a chal­lenge for our gen­er­a­tion of Amer­ic­ans and for all Amer­ic­ans,” Stey­er, who is also the founder of Nex­t­Gen Cli­mate Ac­tion, a cli­mate ad­vocacy group, said.

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