Don't count out Tom Steyer yet

This article originally appeared on

Billionaire green energy activist Tom Steyer may have been shut down in his bid to elect a slate of hand-picked governors and U.S. senators, but don???t count him out just yet.

The PAC he founded is stacked with officers who have Hillary Clinton on speed dial, a California Supreme Court justice as a spouse and former colleagues in the White House.

And a Nov. 24 Federal Election Commission report showed that NextGen Climate Action Committee still has $4.7 million cash on hand after spending $72.9 million in a failed attempt to elect Democratic governors in Florida and Maine and senators in Colorado, Michigan and Iowa. Steyer donated $67 million of that amount.

So what???s next?

NextGen didn???t respond to an interview request to answer that question.

A mainstay in the press during the months before the election, Steyer and his PAC have been mum. The homepage of NextGen proclaims, ???This is a fight we will win,??? seemingly a rallying cry to its troops until you click on the link and see that the message is before Nov. 4.

The fawning media attention before the election turned brutal afterward with headlines like: ???How Do You Waste $67 Mil? Tom Steyer, Call Your Office??? by the Investor???s Business Daily and ???Memo to Tom Steyer: It takes more than money to win elections??? by the Washington Post.

He has been silent on Twitter since Nov. 21, a platform he had used to push a green energy agenda and his group of candidates. Still, the San Francisco tycoon was recently mentioned by Politico as a possible successor to the likely retiring Sen. Barbara Boxer and numerous media reports speculate that Hillary Clinton has avoided taking a strong stance on the Keystone XL project to avoid alienating voters ??? and wealthy donor Steyer ??? in case of a presidential bid.

But one thing is clear ??? anyone seeking access to President Obama or the Clinton family need not look any further than NextGen.

Steyer???s numerous White House visits and friendship with Obama???s counsel and Bill Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta have been well documented. But his staff has access as well.

NextGen???s parent company, Next Generation, lists the following officers:

  • Ann O???Leary, vice president/Children & Families. Former legislative director to Sen. Hillary Clinton and on the Obama/Biden transition team
  • Matt James, president. Former senior congressional aide (New York, Arizona, Arkansas)
  • Kate Gordon, vice president/Energy & Climate. Former vice president at the Center for American Progress, founded by Podesta, who left the organization in January 2014, when he assumed his job at the White House.

In addition, O???Leary is married to Goodwin Liu, who was just 39 in 2010 when he was nominated by Obama for a seat on the ultra-liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. He had no trial or judicial experience but rather worked as a professor. Liu couldn???t get past the Republicans in the U.S. Senate and a year later withdrew his name from consideration. He was appointed as a California Supreme Court justice only two months later, in July 2011.

Liu???s ultra-liberal stance and criticism of other Supreme Court justices didn???t endear him to senators.

???Before becoming a judge, (Chief Justice John Roberts) belonged to the Republican National Lawyers Association and the National Legal Center for the Public Interest, whose mission is to promote ???free enterprise,??? ???private ownership of property,??? and ???limited government.??? These are code words for an ideological agenda hostile to environmental, workplace, and consumer protections,??? Liu once said.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, stopped short of calling Liu a danger, saying he would make rulings based on his activist viewpoints rather than the law, giving the court more power than what the Constitution intended.

NextGen???s influence in California cannot be underestimated. The state views itself as the barometer for progressive environmental issue, a standard by which other states should aspire to be measured. In 2012 Steyer led the charge to enact a law that was passed increasing taxes for out-of-state businesses, with the proceeds going to grow green businesses.

Over in Florida, where NextGen narrowly missed unseating Gov. Rick Scott on an environmental platform that included rising ocean waters, its Twitter feed promised that their 113,310 voters would grow in size and ???make sure politicians (sic) can not ignore climate change.???

To that end, its coffers have $3 million in cash ??? of which $783,890 came in after the election to continue the fight.