Monday, April 21, 2014

Billionaire Tom Steyer Makes His Money the Old Fashioned Way---Investing in Fossil Fuels

John Hinderaker at Powerline explains how billionaire Tom Steyer operates his hypocritical campaign against fossil fuel production while reaping millions in overseas coal investments. Steyer has pledged $100 million to Democrats, (and their environmental lobbies) who oppose Keystone and all other fossil fuel production.  Ironically, or strategically, Steyer is playing both (profit-making) ends, against each other with “questionable motives”: 

“Billionaire hedge fund operator and “green” energy magnate Tom Steyer has pledged $100 million in the 2014 election cycle to help Democratic candidates who oppose the Keystone pipeline and who favor “green” energy over fossil fuels. Steyer claims to be a man of principle who has no financial interest in the causes he supports, but acts only for the public good. That is a ridiculous claim: Steyer is the ultimate rent-seeker who depends on government connections to produce subsidies and mandates that make his “green” energy investments profitable. He also is, or was until recently, a major investor in Kinder Morgan, which is building a competitor to the Keystone pipeline. Go here, here, here, here, here and here for more information about how Steyer uses his political donations and consequent connections to enhance his already vast fortune………
Hypocrisy is not in short supply in the political world, but Tom Steyer is in a class by himself. Now that he is enriching himself through “green” cronyism, coal is evil. Sure: like all hydrocarbons, it competes with the solar energy boondoggles on which he is making millions, with the aid of the Obama administration. But where was Steyer’s alleged social conscience when he was one of the world’s biggest investors in coal? And how substantial are his current holdings in coal projects? Is Steyer financing his anti-fossil fuel campaign on profits from past or, perhaps, ongoing investments in Asian and Australian coal? Inquiring minds want to know! Tom Steyer appears to have elevated political hypocrisy to an entirely new level.”  (read Hinderaker's entire post here)

Of course, obtaining federal subsidies, (most likely tax-free income investments), to promote green energy programs, (that are a few decades away from becoming feasibly practical or self-sustaining---not relying on Federal tax-payer dollars), has Mr. Steyer in an enviable position, and it’s all perfectly legal.  Investing massive campaign dollars against any and all fossil fuel production leads to driving those production prices higher, which, in the end, the cost is picked up by the consumer.  It’s a win-win for Farallon and Kinder Morgan, (corporations Steyer was or is heavily invested in).

In Mr. Steyer’s case, his company/conglomerates don’t have to take their coal industry profits and expend them.  Instead, the tax-payer funded subsidies roll into one account and go out another in the form of get this---campaign donations that are/can be written off by donating to a IRC 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that supplies non-biased information and opinions to their intended voters:  

“How can an organization express that opinion?  IRC 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations are legally prohibited from directly or indirectly campaigning for or against any candidate for political office.  This includes financial campaign contributions and verbal or written statements made on behalf of the organization.  If an organization does so, it puts its tax-exempt status at risk.  That said, there are certain things that tax-exempt organizations can legally do that most people would consider “political.” For example, organizations can hold events or publish documents to educate voters (provided that the materials show no sign of bias).  Voter drives or registration efforts, as long as they are conducted in a bipartisan manner, are not prohibited.”  (LINK)

Of course, all of Mr. Steyer's motives are to educate the masses, and no one should suspect any ulterior motives, such as maintaining his personal wealth.  That would be considered capitalistic and an insult to the liberal progressives who are emotionally invested in saving the planet.  Perhaps this is another case where the ends justify the means........hypocritically speaking, of course.

Billionaire Tom Steyer---making money the old fashioned way.

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