Obama Cashes In On Corrupt Cronyism

I wrote here about the Democrats’ relentless (and highly successful) fundraising on the theme of Democrats’ grass roots contributions vs. the Republicans’ “millionaires and billionaires.” This is nonsense, of course, but any story told often enough starts to seem plausible.

Politico reminds us that the Democrats’ millionaires and billionaires are both financing the party and calling the tune, especially when it comes to energy issues:

COWABUNGA, DUDE: President Barack Obama is in the Bay Area tonight for back-to-back fundraisers — and he can also expect to get an earful of Democratic donors’ thoughts on the Keystone XL pipeline, clean energy investment and other energy issues.

THE INSIDE MAN: The first stop is an event for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, hosted at the San Francisco home of billionaire — and Keystone XL opponent — Tom Steyer and his wife Kat Taylor. Steyer’s role as host will give him plenty of personal access to Obama to discuss the pipeline, which he has lobbied hard against — including his recent, controversial foray into Massachusetts politics to oppose the pro-Keystone Democrat Stephen Lynch in that state’s Senate race. Given the event’s location, watch for attendees to include members of the clean tech community and wealthy climate activists, a Steyer spokesman told ME. Steyer’s event is a $5,000-a-head cocktail party.

THE EXTERNAL PRESSURE: Afterward Obama heads to the nearby mansion of Gordon Getty for a $32,500-a-plate dinner fundraiser benefiting the Democratic National Committee. Getty sold his family’s oil business to Texaco in the mid-‘80s for $10 billion. The real action here is going to be outside, however, where anti-Keystone protestors, gathered by 350.org, Sierra Club, CREDO and others, intend to rally. Organizers say they expect turnout of at least 1,000 for the protest, part of a string of action intended to elevate the Keystone XL issue while the State Department and White House are still considering its application.

THE FOLLOW-UP: Obama’s fundraising swing isn’t done today. Tomorrow, he’ll be at an event for the DNC at the Atherton, Calif., home of Mark Heising, founder of Medley Partners Management and a member of the Environmental Defense Fund’s board of trustees. Heising also sits on the boards of lithium-sulfur battery maker Sion Power Corporation, solar thin film startup Solexant and C-Quest Capital, which backs projects lowering carbon footprints.

Obama will attend a second event tomorrow hosted by Marcia and John Goldman. John Goldman headed up his family philanthropy, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, before it shut down in 2012 and split between Goldman and his siblings after the organization’s namesakes, Goldman’s parents, passed away; the organization gave out money to various environmental projects. John is also vice president of the Goldman Environmental Foundation, a separate organization that hands out the Goldman Environmental Prize, each year giving $150,000 awards to six grassroots activists across the globe.

If you wonder why Obama would even consider blocking the Keystone Pipeline, which is overwhelmingly popular with voters and is supported by labor unions, the Democrats’ most reliable constituency, the answer is plain: the party’s billionaires, many of whom have financial interests adverse to fossil fuels, are–so far, anyway–calling the shots.

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