Pulling Punches

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

Tom Steyer / AP
March 27, 2013

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 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, says it will not rally outside an Obama fundraiser earlier that night at Steyer’s nearby home.

Jamie Henn, a spokesman for, 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 donor. The organization’s operating director Jeremy Osborn told the Washington Free Beacon that 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.