Activists Push Clinton Campaign Further Left on Climate Change
By Aly Nielsen
Liberal donors and Clinton campaign members have been working together to push a more left-wing climate agenda for years, according to emails released by WikiLeaks in October.
WikiLeaks emails reveal Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta and liberal climate change activist/billionaire Tom Steyer tried to organize environmental “student protests” against a Harvard Law professor a month before Steyer hosted a fundraiser for Clinton. Clinton donors have also pressured her to “crack down” on the oil and gas industry. Clinton has already gained a reputation for being anti-coal.
Steyer is so far the largest donor in the 2016 election, and controls NextGen Climate, a PAC that opposes the Keystone pipeline, wants to destroy the coal industry by 2050, and pushes climate rhetoric into elections. Steyer’s anti-coal agenda was even adopted by the Democratic Party Platform.
In March 2015, Podesta emailed Steyer and asked, “Can you get your pall [sic] McKibben to organize Harvard student protests” against Harvard Law professor and constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe.
“I’m all for academic freedom when it’s not bought and paid for by Peabody Coal,” Podesta continued. At the time, Tribe was representing Peabody Energy in a case against the EPA.
Eco-activist Bill McKibben founded 350.org, a “grassroots climate change movement.” 350.org has received millions of dollars from top liberal foundations, including: $1.75 million from the Grantham Foundation, $1.625 million from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund ($375,000 was routed through Sustainable Markets Foundation), $260,000 from the Marisla Foundation, $165,000 from the Park Foundation, and $305,000 from the Wallace Global Fund.
In April 2015, The Clinton campaign sought to strengthen its relationship with Steyer by proposing he host a fundraiser for Clinton. Marc Elias, who was both the Clinton campaign legal adviser and one of Steyer’s lawyers, offered to help organize the event. Steyer and his wife ultimately hosted “Conversation with Hillary” at their home on May 6.
Podesta’s relationship with Steyer precedes the Clinton campaign. While Podesta was still at the White House, Steyer forwarded him an article supporting pipelines, with suggested talking points to counter it. “The railroads also do AND do not have the ability to transport all the sludge they can produce–depending on which arguments helps more,” Steyer wrote, “Talk whenever is good for you.”
In 2008, Podesta pushed for Steyer to be considered for Obama’s energy advisor position. Four years later, Steyer and Podesta wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, arguing, “we don’t need more foreign oil and gas,” because “we appear to be at the beginning of a domestic gas and oil boom.”
Steyer, Podesta, and liberal billionaire George Soros met together at a White House lunch in February 2014 to discuss climate change negotiations and the 2015 Paris climate talks, according to The Hill.
Clinton’s donors have also pressured her to move further left on climate change. In February 2016, Clinton donor Lucy Rockefeller Waletzky complained to Podesta that Clinton had “has not offered a single specific proposal to crack down on even the worst excesses of the oil and gas industry’s highly polluting practices.”
“In addition, my highest priority is to see Secretary Clinton acknowledge the health side effects of fracking, just as physicians do with all our drugs and procedures,” Waletzky asserted.
Waletzky has given at least $5,400 directly to Clinton’s campaign and is the great-granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller.
Podesta himself is also heavily involved in climate activism, just like Steyer. In June 2015 he was elected to the ClimateWorks Foundation Board of directors. The foundation did not announce his election right away to prepare for “potential/inevitable public relations,” according to emails.
ClimateWorks has received at least $4.3 million from the Grantham Foundation between 2010 and 2014, and another $1.05 million from liberal billionaire George Soros in 2010.