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Tom Steyer, Not A Registered Lobbyist, Lobbies California Democrats

On Tuesday, California’s legislature approved a bill “extending the state’s landmark greenhouse gas emissions law.” Proponents says the bill “strengthen[s] California’s role” on climate change and opponents say it could “hurt the state’s economy.”

One proponent, though, is raising serious eyebrows: Tom Steyer.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Among the throngs of lobbyists, business interests and advocates anxiously watching Tuesday’s climate debate in the Assembly, only one was a potential gubernatorial contender: hedge fund billionaire and Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer.

Now, Steyer said it was pure “coincidence” that he was in the Capitol for this major bill’s passage. Steyer, as he tells it, just happened to be “in a room adjacent to the chamber when the vote began.”

At least one legislator was not convinced:

“You’re dancing to the flute of a rich, hedge-fund billionaire who is running for governor,” Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Plumas Lake, said to his Democratic colleagues Tuesday. “He is proposing policies that are against your districts, that put your people out of work. Stand up for your constituents.”

WATCH the moment:

Even though Steyer was in the Capitol “among the throngs of lobbyists” while a major was being considered, he is not a registered lobbyist. NextGen, though, has spent nearly $2 millionon lobbying in the 2015-2016 session.

That money, along with millions to California politicians, buys Steyer some unique access to the state’s Democratic elite.

Of course, this is far from Steyer’s first involvement in California politics. Steyer, whose politicalambition is widely known in the state, has spent millions this year on Golden State ads with his face featured prominently.

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