Amid criticism, Tom Steyer signs a pledge not to accept campaign money from the fossil fuels industry.
When Steyer announced he would be running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, he was met by a tough crowd.
Some critics suggest the activist spend the $100 million he pledged to his campaign on resources that actively helps society, versus pumping it into a potentially wasteful bid for the presidency.
Even other activists are having trouble understanding the aspirations behind his campaign effort and what’s motivating him to run for the presidency.
As his wealth becomes a point of contention in the race, Steyer defends it vehemently reminding the public he’s not like the other billionaires.
Today, Steyer decided to put some of his money where his mouth is.
“For too long, big oil, gas, and coal companies have used their money to influence politicians and kill real action on climate change,” said Steyer in a video that publicized him signing the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge.
“We must protect and prioritize the needs of the American people, both today and tomorrow. That’s why I’ve spent the last decade taking on the oil lobby to win clean air laws, leading grassroots campaigns that defeated powerful special interests, and working to address climate change.”
He went on to call signing the pledge a “no brainer” and expressed that climate change is important to him and his campaign.
A news release about the pledge comes only days after Steyer was criticized in the media for investing in fossil fuels when he ran a hedge fund. Steyer told ABC’s This Week:
“In our business, we invested in every part of the economy, including fossil fuels. When I realized what a threat this was, I changed. I divested from all that stuff.”
The exact terms of the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge Steyer agreed to say he won’t take money over $200 from “PACs, lobbyists or executives” in the fossil fuel industry.
Steyer joins 20 other Democratic candidates who have already signed the pledge, including hard-hitters Kamala Harris, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
The only Democratic candidates who have not signed on to the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge as of today are Steve Bullock, John Delaney and John Hickenlooper. It’s unclear what influence, if any, this gesture will have on the public opinion of Steyer as a formidable opponent in the 2020 Democratic primary.