Group Says Steyer’s Town Halls Fail His Own Standards for Transparency

'Need to Impeach' meetings by California billionaire now selectively ban recording

Tom Steyer

Tom Steyer / Getty Images

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A group in support of workers in traditional energy sectors says Tom Steyer's highly promoted town halls aren't living up to Steyer's own words on transparency because event organizers are generally banning recordings by the general public.

Power the Future, an advocacy non-profit, sent one of their employees to a recent "Need To Impeach" town hall run by the California billionaire, only to see a sign at the check-in table which read, "In accordance with ‘Need to Impeach' rules and regulations, no unauthorized or pre-scheduled filming is allowed at this event."

On at least two occasions in the same article by Time magazine, Steyer advocated his efforts toward transparency.

Steyer was asked about how some political observers have compared him politically to the Koch brothers, the Kansas billionaires who have been politically active with their wealth in the last decade, but for right-of-center causes.

"I think that's very misleading," Steyer said. "First of all, I get the point that there's too much money in politics, and I agree with it. I think there should be reform, and what we're trying to do is take away the bad part of money in politics as much as we can by being transparent. I think the Kochs are not transparent. And when was the last time you sat in the back of a Volt with Charles Koch?"

Steyer went on to say in the same interview he and his organizations had an "open agenda," but Power the Future's director, Daniel Turner, says it's becoming hypocrisy.

"We know from the millions of dollars he's wasting on self-serving television ads that Tom Steyer loves cameras, so why is he booting them out of his campaign events?" Turner said. "Either he's afraid his far left message or his personality won't sell, and he's right on both counts, but that's no way to run for president."

A March article from the Center for Public Integrity quoted Steyer again touting his openness, especially when compared to the Kochs.

"I'm sitting here talking to you, talking to them, sitting here on TV saying, ‘This is me,'" Steyer told the Center for Public Integrity. "We're not shy about it. You should try and call up the Koch brothers to get a lengthy interview to hear what they're really thinking."

Requests for comment emailed to the ‘Need to Impeach' campaign were not returned.

Earlier in the year, Power the Future started the website "Steyerville"—a riff on the way shantytowns and urban slums which sprung up during the Great Depression were named ‘Hoovervilles' after President Herbert Hoover.

Todd Shepherd

Todd Shepherd   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Todd Shepherd is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. He began his reporting career in radio, working as an anchor and reporter for KOMA in Oklahoma City and KOA in Denver. He spent eight years as the investigative reporter for the Independence Institute in Colorado, a free-market-based think tank. Campaigns and Elections magazine named him a "Top Colorado Influencer" for his reporting and news blog. He’s a graduate of the media studies program from Oklahoma Baptist University. His Twitter handle is @shepherdreports.

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