Pulling Punches

Environmental org refuses to protest Obama fundraiser held at environmentalist’s home

Tom Steyer / AP

An environmental organization that vowed to protest every appearance made by President Barack Obama prior to his announcing a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline will not protest a fundraiser hosted by a noted environmentalist.

Environmental group 350.org has headed protests across the country and even rallied activists in Israel last week. However, the group will not protest an Obama fundraiser hosted by anti-Keystone billionaire Tom Steyer next week.

While hundreds of protesters are planning to greet Obama at a San Francisco fundraiser hosted by Gordon Getty, 350.org says it will not rally outside an Obama fundraiser earlier that night at Steyer’s nearby home.

Jamie Henn, a spokesman for 350.org, said the decision to skip Steyer’s house was "mostly logistical," but added that Steyer’s history of environmental activism also played a role.

"Our feeling is that Steyer is probably going to be lobbying inside his fundraiser," Henn said. "And Obama is going to be heading straight to the next fundraiser [and] will see that it’s not just the big donors but really the grassroots that have been engaged in this fight who oppose the [Keystone XL] project. So we think that covers both the angles that we need to make an impact on."

Henn said he was not sure if Steyer was a 350.org donor. The organization’s operating director Jeremy Osborn told the Washington Free Beacon that 350.org does not disclose the names of individual donors "unless they contribute through a foundation."

The environmental group has attacked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for declining to release the names of its donors.

Obama has delayed a decision on the pipeline, which polls show a majority of his voters oppose. The State Department estimates the Keystone XL would create 42,100 jobs during its two-year construction period. Obama is expected to announce a decision shortly.

Obama’s San Francisco fundraisers will benefit the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.