Udall Reveals Double Standard on Big-Money Billionaires

February 20, 2014
By
Al Gore and Mark Udall attended a swank fundraiser for politicians who support climate change.

Al Gore and Mark Udall attended a swank fundraiser for politicians who support climate change.

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.

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

3 Responses to Udall Reveals Double Standard on Big-Money Billionaires

  1. annecink
    February 22, 2014 at 4:11 am

    “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.”
    1) How ironic that no Democrat or liberal mediate is condemning Steyer for earning his billions as a “hedge-fund” manager. When it’s a Republican, a hedge fund is devil-money. When it’s a Democrat, it’s “KEWL DUDE”!
    2) I haven’t heard any scrutiny of Steyer’s objection to the pipeline; no examination of what he might gain by not building it.

  2. John Bradley
    February 24, 2014 at 11:20 am

    While I don’t support the amount of money that goes into campaigns from PACs on both sides of the aisle, it is a reality of the post Citizens United world in which we live. In order to have a chance at being elected you need to have a deep wallet or be supported by a PAC that does.

    What I do have a serious issue with is Michael Sandoval speaking on behalf of all Coloradans. Sandoval was quoted saying, “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.” He is wrong. Tar sands oil, simply put, is a dirty fuel. Carbon dioxide emissions from the oil sands are 20% higher than average emissions from petroleum production. Tar Sands are not the way forward in our nation’s quest for a clean, independent energy future.

    While Senator Mark Udall may not be practicing what he preaches about campaign finances, he is standing up for Coloradans who are concerned with the environmental and health impacts that are inherent in the Keystone XL Pipeline. His position on global warming is definitely not one to shy away from, and I appreciate his support of carbon pollution standards from power plants as well. The “state’s less fortunate” should be able to rely on their government to protect their public health and well-being. And that is what Senator Udall is doing.

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