Capital Briefs

Steyer addresses conference, media not allowed in

This article originally appeared on watchdog.org.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Tom Steyer, billionaire environmental and political activist, told members of the Green Alliance here Friday he plans to remain involved in politics for years to come.

In what ways he intended to remain involved were unclear, at least to the public. The media was not allowed in.

Just before stepping inside, Steyer refused to answer a Watchdog.org question about New Hampshire’s Democrat U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s opposition to a carbon tax. During a debate Thursday night with Republican challenger Scott Brown, Shaheen said, “I have never supported a national energy tax.”

Steyer, by the way, arrived at the conference in a Chrysler Town & Country, a minivan more environmentally friendly than the Chevrolet Suburban that carried him and Gov. Martin O’Malley to a conference in New Orleans earlier this month, as Watchdog.org previously reported.

After the event, Steyer refused to answer a question about NextGen’s $239,000 donation to NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado’s Independent Expenditure Committee, responsible for the much-derided ad attacking Republican U.S. Senate candidate Corey Gardner over birth control.

“If Cory Gardner gets his way, you better stock up on condoms,” says a female narrator in the ad.

Staff for the Alliance’s NextGen Climate Conference, a reference to Steyer’s climate change political action committee, were told to keep media members from attending. Ads made no mention the media would not be allowed to cover the conference.

Green Alliance is a local environmental group that offers members special discounts at local businesses, according to the sign placed outside the event.

Walt Bishop, a contact person for the conference, said in an email, “Unfortunately the event is for Green Alliance members only. I believe the posting failed to mention that.”

An email to NextGen Climate’s press office was not returned asking for comment.

NextGen so has far spent $3.1 million to air negative ads against Brown in New Hampshire, according to USA Today. Steyer has donated $56 million of his fortune to NextGen, making him the largest single political-action committee donor in this election cycle, according to FEC documents.

Steyer may have to spend more money. Shaheen up by just 3.4 percentage points over Brown in a RealClear Politics average of polling in New Hampshire.

And in Colorado, Gardner is up by 3.6 points over incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall in spite of Steyer’s spending on negative Gardner ads.


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