Even 2,600 pages of tax returns weren’t enough for Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer to be truly transparent.
The liberal hedge fund billionaire and “Impeach Trump” activist released the documents on a campaign webpage labeled “Transparency,” but it wasn’t enough — even for the liberal Los Angeles Times.
LA Times reported on Aug. 29, that although the disclosure showed Steyer’s gross income of $1.2 billion over nine years, it “did not disclose the omission of scores of pages that detail hundreds of millions of dollars of investments.”
Some of those investments are highly controversial. His past investments in fossil fuels also directly challenge his environmentalist persona and leave him open to charges of hypocrisy.
“The omission makes it impossible to see whether Steyer has divested from all fossil fuel investments — as he says he has — since leaving the hedge fund company he founded,” wrote LA Times.
Steyer was campaigning and portraying himself as an environmental crusader for years before divesting from fossil fuels. In 2013, his Farallon Capital Management was working on a deal in Australia to create one of the largest coal mining operations on the continent. His firm also invested heavily in coal operations in Indonesia. Those deals increased coal production by at least 70 million tons. His divestment conveniently happened after he had already made a fortune investing in coal.
Steyer’s campaign defended the omissions, saying his releases were “consistent with federal advice.” The tax returns included records on income, charitable foundations and political organizations, which themselves were “so complicated that his financial advisors at one point asked for extensions ‘due to complex accounting problems,’” the LA Times said.
Steyer’s omissions went beyond fossil fuels. On July 11, the LA Times reported Steyer’s investment firm Farallon Capital Management had also invested millions into private prisons, including tens of millions into a company that runs "migrant detention centers" located at the U.S.-Mexico border.
A Vox Recode analysis of Steyer’s disclosed tax returns found he spent $365 million on political activities between 2009 and 2017. Recode also noted that Steyer “is perhaps the wealthiest person ever to run for president.”
Steyer spent $120 million just promoting impeachment with his Need to Impeach and NextGen America organizations by trying to ensure a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives in the 2018 election.
The Atlantic called that operation the “biggest political machine you’ve never heard of.”