Billionaire Mega-Donor Tom Steyer Selections Favourite AG Hopefuls; Extra World Warming Instances Conceivable

Tom Steyer, a billionaire environmental activist, has donated thousands to at least three Democrat state attorney general candidates this year. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

</div> </div> <p>Democrat challengers aspiring to become the top lawyers in their states have received financial boosts from Tom Steyer, a billionaire investor and environmental activist who <a href="https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/sorry-tom-steyer-you-cant-sue-your-way-to-climate-policy" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/sorry-tom-steyer-you-cant-sue-your-way-to-climate-policy">some feel</a> is a driving force behind the recent string of climate change lawsuits struggling to persuade judges to punish the energy industry.</p> <p>For example, this year, Steyer, his wife and a business associate have pumped more than $15,000 into the campaign fund of January Contreras, a former county and state prosecutor challenging incumbent Arizona AG Mark Brnovich, who is seen as <a href="https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511515013-arizona-attorney-general-true-advocate-of-state-s-job-creators-industry-leader-says" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511515013-arizona-attorney-general-true-advocate-of-state-s-job-creators-industry-leader-says">a champion of small business</a>.</p> <p>Steyer and wife Kat Taylor each <a href="https://apps.azsos.gov/apps/election/cfs/search/PublicReports/2018/F6D8E226-AE26-4F78-9B37-44F0201671F3.pdf" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://apps.azsos.gov/apps/election/cfs/search/PublicReports/2018/F6D8E226-AE26-4F78-9B37-44F0201671F3.pdf">donated the maximum</a> $5,100 into Contreras’ fund, as did Fleur Fairman, who played a key role at Steyer’s Farallon Capital <a href="https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b150nnccmkqjv6/steyer-power" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b150nnccmkqjv6/steyer-power">in its early days</a>. Fairman also donated $25,000 to Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action PAC <a href="http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgave2.php?cmte=C00547349&amp;cycle=2014" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgave2.php?cmte=C00547349&amp;cycle=2014">in 2014</a>.</p> <p> </p> <p>Contreras has shown that environmental protection is a priority. If she wins November’s election, at the very least she plans to challenge the policies of the administration of President Trump, whom Steyer is <a href="https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/tom-steyer-ad-urges-people-to-sign-trump-impeachment-petition" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/tom-steyer-ad-urges-people-to-sign-trump-impeachment-petition">trying to get impeached</a>.</p> <p>“There may be times when we have to educate the federal government about our unique landscape because no one knows Arizona likes Arizonans, but I will certainly reject the knee-jerk ‘profits before planet’ approach of today,” she wrote this April in an <a href="https://www.arizonalist.org/2018/05/our-attorney-general-should-be-a-guardian-for-earth-day-every-day/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.arizonalist.org/2018/05/our-attorney-general-should-be-a-guardian-for-earth-day-every-day/">Earth Day op-ed</a>.</p>

<p>The energy industry would certainly need to worry about a climate change lawsuit similar to those filed in several jurisdictions so far that allege oil companies have created the “public nuisance” of global warming.</p> <p>The main targets of those cases have been Exxon, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell, though they <a href="https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511468070-judge-boots-global-warming-cases-of-san-francisco-oakland-against-oil-industry" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511468070-judge-boots-global-warming-cases-of-san-francisco-oakland-against-oil-industry">have convinced federal judges</a> in San Francisco and New York City that the lawsuits are an inappropriate attempt to ask the judiciary to regulate their business practices.</p> <p>The cases have been pushed by private lawyers at Hagens Berman, which stands to make around 20% of its <a href="https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511413600-hagens-berman-reduces-fee-for-latest-government-client-to-sue-over-climate-change" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511413600-hagens-berman-reduces-fee-for-latest-government-client-to-sue-over-climate-change">clients’ recovery</a>. The firm Sher Edling also has some clients in California, and a Denver personal injury lawyer would make 20% off of Boulder’s lawsuit.</p> <p>Though attorney general races haven’t been at the top of the priority list for Steyer when it comes to the <a href="https://www.followthemoney.org/search-results/SearchForm?Search=steyer%2C+tom" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.followthemoney.org/search-results/SearchForm?Search=steyer%2C+tom">staggering amount</a> of money he’s given to candidates, over the summer the<em>&nbsp;Daily Caller</em> <a href="http://dailycaller.com/2018/06/19/steyer-involved-in-anti-exxon/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://dailycaller.com/2018/06/19/steyer-involved-in-anti-exxon/">reported&nbsp;</a>he might have coordinated with former New York AG Eric Schneiderman on an investigation into what Exxon knew about climate change and what it disclosed to investors.</p> <p>The publication cited a leaked memo that said three Steyer entities – Fahr LLC, NextGen and TomKat Foundation – sought to “weaken the political influence of the oil industry by leveraging the Exxon investigation.”</p> <p>It also said to engage with city attorneys – “Funding needed to develop case??” the memo says.</p> <p>Energy in Depth – a project of the Independent Petroleum Association of America – in June noted <a href="https://eidclimate.org/eid-review-of-steyer-political-campaign-contributions-reveal-potential-big-role-in-exxonknew-campaign/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://eidclimate.org/eid-review-of-steyer-political-campaign-contributions-reveal-potential-big-role-in-exxonknew-campaign/">the timing of four donations</a> from Steyer’s groups.</p> <p>In California, officials in Marin County and the City of Imperial Beach announced their lawsuits on July 17, 2017, and Steyer’s NextGen donated $30,000 to Democratic Central Committee of Marin and $114,000 to the San Diego County Democratic Party two weeks later. Imperial Beach is in that county.</p> <p>Later that year, San Francisco announced its climate lawsuit Sept. 20, and Steyer then provided a $30,000 donation for a ballot initiative supported by late Mayor Ed Lee.</p> <p>And before Oakland filed its lawsuit, Steyer <a href="http://dailycaller.com/2018/02/22/steyer-oakland-mayor-lawsuit-energy-companies/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://dailycaller.com/2018/02/22/steyer-oakland-mayor-lawsuit-energy-companies/">donated $500,000</a> to Oakland Promise Generation Fund and Children’s Initiative, the<em>&nbsp;Daily Caller</em> reported.</p> <p>Steyer is <a href="https://www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=431767" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=431767">using his money</a> to support at least a couple of other Democrat AG candidates this year – Joshua Kaul in Wisconsin got $10,000 and Sean Shaw in Florida got $3,000.</p> <p>Kaul <a href="http://conservationvoters.org/newsitems/conservation-voters-endorse-josh-kaul-for-attorney-general/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://conservationvoters.org/newsitems/conservation-voters-endorse-josh-kaul-for-attorney-general/">argues&nbsp;</a>that current AG Brad Schimel “puts the interests of polluters ahead of the interests of Wisconsinites,” and Shaw has made it known he plans to file lawsuits <a href="https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511512517-just-sue-it-fla-ag-candidate-wants-to-use-office-to-avoid-red-tape-file-lawsuits" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511512517-just-sue-it-fla-ag-candidate-wants-to-use-office-to-avoid-red-tape-file-lawsuits">whenever he can</a>. He told the <em>Tampa Bay Times</em> one such possibility <a href="http://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/05/18/democrat-sean-shaw-says-hell-be-activist-florida-attorney-general/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:http://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/05/18/democrat-sean-shaw-says-hell-be-activist-florida-attorney-general/">is a climate change suit</a>.</p> <p>Critics of those lawsuits include the <a href="https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511421043-trump-climate-change-lawsuits-interfere-with-policy-should-be-dismissed" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511421043-trump-climate-change-lawsuits-interfere-with-policy-should-be-dismissed">Trump Administration</a> and 15 state attorneys general, all Republican, who have filed <a href="https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511445301-states-against-climate-change-lawsuits-ask-for-dismissal-of-nyc-s" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511445301-states-against-climate-change-lawsuits-ask-for-dismissal-of-nyc-s">friend-of-the-court briefs</a>. Democrats have been less willing to voice support for the cause, as only four Democrat AGs (New York, Washington, New Jersey and California) signed the latest amicus brief.</p> <p>And only one AG has filed suit – <a href="https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511473007-others-0-for-2-but-rhode-island-joining-climate-change-litigation-anyway" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://legalnewsline.com/stories/511473007-others-0-for-2-but-rhode-island-joining-climate-change-litigation-anyway">Rhode Island’s Peter Kilmartin</a>. But that could change, given that private lawyers are fronting the costs.</p> <p>“The AG has a significant role to move us forward or backwards in the battle against climate change. I choose forward,” Contreras <a href="https://twitter.com/JanuaryAZ/status/1039196719303426049" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://twitter.com/JanuaryAZ/status/1039196719303426049">tweeted this week</a>.</p> <p>A <a href="https://cei.org/AGclimatescheme" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://cei.org/AGclimatescheme">recent report</a> from the Competitive Enterprise Institute says special interests are using state AGs to pursue their own climate policies.</p> <p>Donors have been coordinating meetings between plaintiffs lawyers and AGs, CEI says. It has been previously reported that the New York University School of Law, through a nearly $6 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, is <a href="https://pennrecord.com/stories/511356087-nyu-law-sending-free-help-to-10-dem-ags-for-environmental-causes-marcellus-shale-group-alarmed-at-message" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://pennrecord.com/stories/511356087-nyu-law-sending-free-help-to-10-dem-ags-for-environmental-causes-marcellus-shale-group-alarmed-at-message">sending special environmental prosecutors</a> to the offices of 10 state attorneys general – all Democrats.</p> <p>“This is the most dangerous example of a modus operandi we have found: it uses nonprofit organizations as pass-through entities by which donors can support elected officials to, in turn, use their offices to advance a specific set of policies favored by said donors,” CEI’s report says.</p> <p>“It also uses resources that legislatures will not provide and that donors cannot legally provide directly.”</p> <p><em>From Legal Newsline: Reach editor John O’Brien at john.obrien@therecordinc.com.</em></p>”>

Tom Steyer, a billionaire environmental activist, has donated 1000’s to a minimum of 3 Democrat state lawyer normal applicants this 12 months. (AP Photograph/John Minchillo)

Democrat challengers desiring to develop into the highest legal professionals of their states have gained monetary boosts from Tom Steyer, a billionaire investor and environmental activist who some really feel is a driver at the back of the hot string of local weather alternate proceedings suffering to steer judges to punish the power business.

As an example, this 12 months, Steyer, his spouse and a industry affiliate have pumped greater than $15,000 into the marketing campaign fund of January Contreras, a former county and state prosecutor difficult incumbent Arizona AG Mark Brnovich, who’s observed as a champion of small industry.

Steyer and spouse Kat Taylor every donated the utmost $five,100 into Contreras’ fund, as did Fleur Fairman, who performed a key function at Steyer’s Farallon Capital in its early days. Fairman additionally donated $25,000 to Steyer’s NextGen Local weather Motion PAC in 2014.

Contreras has proven that environmental coverage is a concern. If she wins November’s election, on the very least she plans to problem the insurance policies of the management of President Trump, whom Steyer is seeking to get impeached.

“There could also be instances when we need to teach the government about our distinctive panorama as a result of nobody is aware of Arizona likes Arizonans, however I will be able to definitely reject the knee-jerk ‘income earlier than planet’ way of as of late,” she wrote this April in an Earth Day op-ed.

The power business would definitely want to fear a few local weather alternate lawsuit very similar to the ones filed in different jurisdictions to this point that allege oil firms have created the “public nuisance” of worldwide warming.

The primary objectives of the ones circumstances had been Exxon, Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell, despite the fact that they have satisfied federal judges in San Francisco and New York Town that the proceedings are an beside the point try to ask the judiciary to keep watch over their industry practices.

The circumstances had been driven by way of personal legal professionals at Hagens Berman, which stands to make round 20% of its purchasers’ restoration. The company Sher Edling additionally has some purchasers in California, and a Denver private harm legal professional would make 20% off of Boulder’s lawsuit.

Despite the fact that lawyer normal races haven’t been on the best of the concern record for Steyer in the case of the staggering quantity of cash he’s given to applicants, over the summer time the Day-to-day Caller reported he would possibly have coordinated with former New York AG Eric Schneiderman on an investigation into what Exxon knew about local weather alternate and what it disclosed to traders.

The e-newsletter cited a leaked memo that stated 3 Steyer entities – Fahr LLC, NextGen and TomKat Basis – sought to “weaken the political affect of the oil business by way of leveraging the Exxon investigation.”

It additionally stated to interact with town legal professionals – “Investment had to broaden case??” the memo says.

Power in Intensity – a mission of the Impartial Petroleum Affiliation of The usa – in June famous the timing of 4 donations from Steyer’s teams.

In California, officers in Marin County and the Town of Imperial Seashore introduced their proceedings on July 17, 2017, and Steyer’s NextGen donated $30,000 to Democratic Central Committee of Marin and $114,000 to the San Diego County Democratic Celebration two weeks later. Imperial Seashore is in that county.

Later that 12 months, San Francisco introduced its local weather lawsuit Sept. 20, and Steyer then equipped a $30,000 donation for a poll initiative supported by way of past due Mayor Ed Lee.

And earlier than Oakland filed its lawsuit, Steyer donated $500,000 to Oakland Promise Technology Fund and Youngsters’s Initiative, the Day-to-day Caller reported.

Steyer is the use of his cash to fortify a minimum of a few different Democrat AG applicants this 12 months – Joshua Kaul in Wisconsin were given $10,000 and Sean Shaw in Florida were given $three,000.

Kaul argues that present AG Brad Schimel “places the pursuits of polluters forward of the pursuits of Wisconsinites,” and Shaw has made it identified he plans to report proceedings every time he can. He instructed the Tampa Bay Instances one such risk is a local weather alternate go well with.

Critics of the ones proceedings come with the Trump Management and 15 state legal professionals normal, all Republican, who’ve filed friend-of-the-court briefs. Democrats had been much less keen to voice fortify for the purpose, as most effective 4 Democrat AGs (New York, Washington, New Jersey and California) signed the most recent amicus temporary.

And just one AG has filed go well with – Rhode Island’s Peter Kilmartin. However that would alternate, for the reason that personal legal professionals are fronting the prices.

“The AG has a vital function to transport us ahead or backwards within the combat in opposition to local weather alternate. I select ahead,” Contreras tweeted this week.

A contemporary record from the Aggressive Endeavor Institute says particular pursuits are the use of state AGs to pursue their very own local weather insurance policies.

Donors had been coordinating conferences between plaintiffs legal professionals and AGs, CEI says. It’s been prior to now reported that the New York College Faculty of Legislation, via a just about $6 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, is sending particular environmental prosecutors to the workplaces of 10 state legal professionals normal – all Democrats.

“That is essentially the most unhealthy instance of a modus operandi we’ve got discovered: it makes use of nonprofit organizations as pass-through entities during which donors can fortify elected officers to, in flip, use their workplaces to advance a selected set of insurance policies preferred by way of stated donors,” CEI’s record says.

“It additionally makes use of assets that legislatures is not going to supply and that donors can not legally supply at once.”

From Prison Newsline: Succeed in editor John O’Brien at john.obrien@therecordinc.com.

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