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HORIST: Tom Steyer – The man behind the impeachment ad

HORIST:  Tom Steyer – The man behind the impeachment ad

Most Americans may not have heard of a guy named Tom Steyer.  His ubiquitous ads calling for the impeachment of President Trump may be his ascendancy out of political anonymity.  He is spending a minimum of $10 million on television ads calling for the impeachment of President Trump.

(Incidentally, we should stop referring to the New York/DC media cabal as “mainstream media.”  They are not.  They are the media outlets for the left-wing establishment – the elitist media.  But I digress.)

In his ads, Steyer presents himself as some sort of traditional average American – just a guy in a blue shirt talking to the nation from in front of the living room hearth – if the setting is his home and not a studio creation.  To reinforce this “plain old me” image, the ad identifies him only as “Tom Steyer, American citizen.”

However, Steyer is far from a typical American citizen.  If he were, of course, he could not afford the tens of millions of dollars he is spending in a futile attempt to impeach the President.  Steyer is one of those types Bernie Sanders and the Democrats should hate – a one percenter billionaire. But, Bernie does not hate Steyer, just as he and the Democrats do not hate George Soros – the much better known radical left-wing billionaire fat cat.

In first viewing the commercials, one may jump to the conclusion that Steyer is just a wacko with money – and, indeed, some pundits and bloggers have said as much.  That assessment, however, would dismiss the billionaire without sufficient evaluation of who he is and what motivates him.  Steyer is neither stupid nor misguided.  He is a very calculating and ruthless political operative.

Though he is now breaking through the political smokescreen, Steyer has been a darling for the Democrat left for decades.  He appears on fundraising lists often as the biggest contributor.  He has political ambitions of his own – hinting at a run for Congress, governor of California and even President.

His impeachment ad claims that Trump is a “clear and present danger” to the republic.  In classic political fear mongering, Steyer raises that shop-worn canard issue – the atomic button.  He calls the commander-in-chief unstable and provides a summary of specious accusations based on Democrat talking points.  

The latest outtake of his political ambition is a national petition drive calling for the impeachment.  He hopes to, and will, acquire hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of signatures calling for the impeachment.  That is not a steep climb since millions of Trump haters will gladly sign the online petition as an expression of resistance and opposition.  It is another of those symbolic gestures that liberals seem to love no matter how many times they float off the political scene without so much as a wake.

If Steyer is not stupid, why is he doing something so … well … seemingly stupid?

Steyer’s petition is not only devoid of any legal standing, it will go down as a rather expensive partisan public relations stunt.  Impeaching the President, however, may not be his primary goal. A more rational explanation would be to get Steyer’s name out there for a future political run.  In that regard, it is a pretty good stunt.  He can depend on the elitist press to give him maximum exposure.  He has already appeared on the most obvious opinion-as-news shows.  You can expect constant coverage as the number of signatures rise – as if that has any meaning.  

Signatories to the unofficial petition will be required to provide both their email address and their zip code.  Now that can be worth millions to a political activist and potential candidate.  It becomes a target market anti-Trump fundraising.  Steyer might get his money back just selling the list or using it as a quid pro quo.

I refuse to believe that Steyer is so stupid as to believe his money can buy an impeachment by merely arousing the sentiment of the already rabid anti-Trump citizenry.  If that is his primary motive, then he most surely joins California Congresswoman Maxine Waters (who is a wacko) in a spleen-driven baseless call for the removal of the President – something that is not likely with what we know today.

More answers can be found in learning more about Steyer, the man.    He began life on the very liberal island of Manhattan — born with, as the old expression goes, a silver spoon in his mouth.  He went to the best east coast colleges.  On his way to billions of dollars, Steyer’s career passed through such notable one percenter institutions as the infamous (at least to the left) Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. 

He eventually moved to San Francisco, which greatly enhanced his wealth accumulation but did nothing to broaden his political viewpoint.  There he founded Farallon Capital, a major hedge fund operation and his ticket to Forbes Magazine’s billionaire list. Despite his latter-day folksy appearance, Steyer was born, bred and prospered as one of the major denizens of the bicoastal New York/California political leftist subset. 

His political philosophy and partisanship are unwavering.  He first came to the attention of the Democratic establishment in Senator Walter Mondale’s 1983 failed presidential campaign.  His increasing campaign contributions gave him increasing access to the levers of power.  By 2014, Steyer remained in the friendly media shadow even though he was said to be the single largest political donor in America.  His official contributions that year exceeded $74 million – far outpacing the frequently reported and demonized Koch brothers.  Steyer topped that in 2016 with more than $87 million to Democrat candidates, including the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.  

Of course, Steyer found out American elections are not easy to buy no matter how much you are willing to pay.  His investment in the political left failed in stopping the GOP from taking control of the United State Senate in 2014 and in 2016 his money could not buy the presidency for Clinton.

Regardless of his high-sounding rhetoric, Steyer has been a classic pay-to-play guy – but not as successfully as one might expect.  He made a serious run to be President Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury.  Having failed that, he later tried to replace Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy.    His donations have gotten him door prize level speaking engagements at the Democratic National Convention and frequent access to the Obama White House as an informal “advisor.”   In a significant and little-known quid pro quo, Steyer funded the Truman Project to build public support for Obama’s Iran deal.

Some on the left have not been convinced about Steyer’s commitment to the cause.  Despite casting his public image as an alternative energy activist, much of his wealth was derived from investments in the –ready for this?–  coal industry.  His investment in private prisons added to his reputation as a liberal apostate.

Steyer’s conversion to alternative energy as his life’s cause seems to have occurred as his personal investment strategy shifted from fossil fuel to the development and manufacturing of alternative energy resources.  This connection between his political generosity and his personal business interests was highlighted in a report by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute, which accused Steyer of “seeking to protect his solar energy investments by spending tens of millions of dollars on key 2016 races, buying a plank in the 2016 Democrat platform, and trying to silence debate from those who challenge his view on ‘climate change’ by using select attorneys general to prosecute ‘dissenters.’”  You may recall, the strategy of co-opting the state-based attorneys general to tie up the opposition in time-consuming and expensive court cases was originally advanced by George Soros.

Steyer also had his own Russian connection, too.

In a complex scheme to enrich Farallon, Steyer set up Farallon Fixed Income Associates (FFIA) to handle investments in the Russian market, including oil.  FFIA partnered with the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID), which was funded by grants from the Obama administration to essentially work to create business deals in Russia.  

The complex deal ultimately wound up in the courts on charges of multiple conflicts of interest.  During the trial, Steyer confirmed that his role was to supervise the Russian investments.  Farallon settled the lawsuit with the Obama Department of Justice for an undisclosed amount to avoid litigation.  Harvard closed the HIID and paid out a settlement of more than $25 million.  Two of the principals settled individually in the $1 to $2 million range.   Steyer dodged the bullet because of his political connections according to some reports.

As Steyer moved into the promotion of “green” enterprises, his financial and political interests were not left behind.  His promotion of alternative energy sources paralleled his investments.  His influence on the issue went far beyond his meetings in the Oval Office.

Steyer used tens of millions of dollars to set up more than a dozen organizations and lobbyists to push the green agenda – often making them appear as independent entities.  One of the groups, Clean Economic Development Center (CEDC) was at the center of a corruption scandal that forced the resignation of Democrat Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber – a politician with whom Steyer frequently conferred.  Under the headline “Tom Steyer’s Deep Ties to Oregon Corruption Scandal,” The Washington Free Beacon reported that CEDC had made secret payments (bribes) to Kitzhaber’s fiancé and Oregon’s First Lady.

The latest effort by Steyer to fund radical left-wing policies and his own future ambitions is the Center for the Next Generation (NextGen).  In this new endeavor, Steyer is again a puppet master for a complex array of organizations, funds and individuals.  His political intent is obvious in his appointments to the NextGen board of political operatives like President Clinton’s chief of staff Mike McCurry and Andrea Purse, former head of the White House Office of Broadcast Media.

The real Tom Steyer is far from that soft-spoken man with the Bing Crosby persona that you see in his carefully crafted impeachment ads.  Rather, he is a strident partisan Democrat with hardcore left leanings and a highly ambitious political operative who uses his wealth in efforts (not always successful, thankfully) to impose his narrow vision on the nation, to grow his personal wealth and to amass power and prominence.  

Among his billions of dollars, Steyer is the proverbial three dollar bill.  He makes a mockery of the Democratic Party’s claim of being the party of the people with an aversion to the influence of big money in politics.   Steyer is no common man no matter how often he dresses like one.

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in public policy and political issues. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, and he has served as a consultant to the White House under Presidents Nixon and Reagan. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress and lectured at Harvard University, Northwestern University, Florida Atlantic University, Knox College and Hope College. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at


About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.