DENVER — Democratic Sen. Mark Udall really doesn’t approve of billionaires who spend heavily on political campaigns, unless the billionaire happens to be liberal.
Udall was among an exclusive group of Democrats who attended Wednesday night’s fundraiser at the San Francisco home of liberal billionaire Tom Steyer, who has pledged to spend $100 million this year on candidates who pledge to fight climate change.
A week ago, however, Udall came out swinging against Charles and David Koch, the billionaire brothers who regularly support conservative causes and candidates.
“They’ve already spent $27 million in this cycle in attacks against candidates all across the country—and that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to what they’re going to spend in the months ahead,” said Udall in a Feb. 16 post on his Facebook page.
In fact, the campaigns of Udall and several other Senate Democrats facing reelection in November are sponsoring a website, Stop the Koch Brothers, that calls on backers to “fight back” by signing onto a list of those outraged by the Kochs’ political spending.
“We find it interesting that just days after complaining about money in politics on his Facebook page, Sen. Mark Udall is jetting off for a DSCC fundraiser to collect some of the $100 million hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer plans to give to climate change activists,” said Michael Sandoval, energy policy analyst for the free-market Independence Institute.
A former hedge-fund manager, Steyer recently launched the NextGen Climate Action PAC that is strongly opposed to the building of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“If Udall was really concerned about Coloradans, he’d focus on increasing access for our state’s less fortunate by supporting affordable and reliable energy, like Keystone XL,” said Sandoval.
Among those who dropped by Democratic fundraiser was former Vice President Al Gore, who referred to Steyer as “Mr. Tipping Point” in the fight against global warming, according to Politico’s Darren Goode.
“The roughly 70 guests who attended the two-hour dinner at Steyer’s abode in San Francisco’s Sea Cliff neighborhood ate grass-fed beef from Steyer’s ranch, as well as salmon, while a large California flag hung on the wall,” said the Politico report. “The event raised $400,000 for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.”
Other Democrats in attendance were Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire who is also facing reelection in November.
“Shaheen and especially Udall may face tight reelection races,” said the Politico report.
An Open Secrets review of “heavy hitter” campaign funders from 1989 to December 2013 listed Koch Industries in 59th place. Six of the top 10 spenders were labor unions that contribute almost exclusively to Democrats.