America remains a mostly free country such that your talents and good luck can reap financial rewards. Talent and money also can get you elected to public office where you can be in a position to protect the freedom America offers – or take it away.

One of the two dozen Democratic candidates running for president is a wealthy and talented hedge fund investor named Tom Steyer, who founded Farallon Capital. Steyer hasn’t yet appeared on the debate stage, but he is likely to make a splash based on his commitment to spend $100 million on his campaign for the Party’s nomination.

Farallon Capital has invested in coal mining and private prisons, among other areas, which contributed to Mr. Steyer’s mega-fortune. He’s also been an investor in Geotech, one of the largest oilfield exploration companies in Russia, of all places. There is nothing necessarily illegal or unethical about such investments, but plenty of rival candidates will find them anathema.  Steyer has more recently become one of the loudest voices admonishing about global man-made climate change and is committed to fighting it; even though, by his own theory, his fossil fuel investments contributed to the planet’s warming.

No matter.  Steyer’s on the climate change team now and donates to politicians who agree. He also spent millions of dollars running television ads promoting the impeachment of President Trump.  Much of Steyer’s money may be dirty, but it’s still green in that it pays the bills, so all is forgiven for the cause of fighting climate change.

How far Steyer gets in his presidential campaign is dubious. Money matters, but it’s not sufficient. He’s not a household name, and lacks the long-time public persona and name-ID of another wealthy, non-politician, Donald Trump, when he ran successfully in 2016. If Steyer makes any traction in the polls, watch other candidates try to take him down for how he made his fortune.

Ironically, if Steyer gets his way, and the climate change agenda captured in the Green New Deal becomes a reality, so many of America’s basic freedoms he enjoyed making his fortune will wither and disappear. The energy sector will shrink; the freedom of travel will be curtailed; and the houses we live and cars we drive and the conveniences we enjoy, fueled by traditional energy, will skyrocket in price; and taxes on every income level will soar.

In other words, Tom Steyer and so many of his fellow travelers who made their fortunes and prospered in America in ways climate alarmists find so alarming will in turn diminish such opportunities for you and your children – all in the name of fighting climate change.

There are many such fellow travelers at the local level, also running for office.  One of them is a woman named Mavis Taintor, who is a transplanted Virginian, originally from New York. She is now running for a seat in the state House of Delegates to represent the 33rd district surrounding Winchester, the north-central area of the Commonwealth. Ms. Taintor says climate change “is the chief crisis confronting us all” and has been endorsed by 1planetwomen, a climate change political group.

Like Tom Steyer, Ms. Taintor was a hedge fund investor who touts an extreme climate change agenda.  And, similarly, her agenda is opposite of how she invests hundreds of thousands of dollars of her personal funds.  Among the businesses from which she makes money are Duke Energy, Exxon Mobile, and Pembina Pipeline – a who’s who of fossil fuel companies in which groups like 1planet would accuse of warming the earth to the point of an existential threat.

How Ms. Taintor’s extreme environmental agenda squares with her personal finances parked in such companies is a mystery, assuming the reason is other than old fashion greed and hypocrisy. Taintor’s ownership of stock in Duke Energy is especially twisted, as the company has been fined more than $1.6 billion for three dozen environmental violations.

Ms. Taintor’s fortune doesn’t stop with oil and gas. She’s also invested in Teva Pharmaceuticals, a company that was accused of marketing schemes that fueled the rise in the deadly opioid crisis, and paid $85 million in fines. Then there is Altria, the granddaddy of tobacco companies, the parent company of Philip Morris, Inc. Ms. Taintor has up to $50,000 in stock invested in tobacco; a legal product, but also a documented pollutant and killer.

There’s a Bible verse (Matthew 6:21) that says, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Should Virginians elect Taintor, who claims she’ll protect and save the earth while she houses her fortune in the very companies that enviro groups claim are destroying it? Is Tom Steyer, a billionaire from investments in oil and coal, really the person to convince the country we should curtail our lifestyle and our capitalist system to fight climate change?

These are questions ultimately the voters will have to decide. Meanwhile, the bigger question is why environmental groups would support such people?

Tom Steyer and Mavis Taintor are national and local examples of an entitled culture of people who live a contradiction as long as they virtue signal by proposing to fight climate change. There are many more such do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do people wanting political power to reign in our own lifestyles. Be on the lookout.


  • CFACT Ed

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  • Peter Murphy

    Peter Murphy is Senior Fellow at CFACT. He has researched and advocated for a variety of policy issues, including education reform and fiscal policy, both in the non-profit sector and in government in the administration of former New York Governor George Pataki. He previously wrote and edited The Chalkboard weblog for the NY Charter Schools Association, and has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Hill, New York Post, Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal. Twitter: @PeterMurphy26 Website: