Left-wing billionaire and Democratic megadonor Tom Steyer said Saturday that the American political system had been corrupted by "dollars and donors."
Speaking to the California Democratic Convention in San Diego, Steyer cast the upcoming election as an opportunity to reclaim the country through progressive values.
"We're on a two-way street," Steyer said. "If we want people to have our backs, then those people need to know in their bones that we'll have their backs, that we will speak the truth, and we will stand up for them when the chips are down."
"So let's speak the truth. America has been corrupted from a democracy of voters and values to one of dollars and donors," he said. "Republicans have openly invited this, but Democrats too often have let the downward spiral continue."
On Steyer's Facebook page, he had his speech posted, but the video quality was poor and the clip skipped at the 2:25 mark after he said "America has been corrupted" and started again with "let the downward spiral continue," leaving out the portion about "dollars and donors." The full speech can be viewed here beginning at the 1:02:45 mark.
The complaint by Steyer, a hedge fund manager turned environmental activist, about the influence of donors in politics is notable, given the enormous amounts of money he's poured into Democratic coffers.
He spent more than $74 million trying to elect Democrats in the 2014 midterms, when Republicans recaptured the Senate. He was the single biggest spender in the 2016 election, spending more than $88 million only to see Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton and Republicans retain control of Congress.
Steyer launched a $20 million ad campaign last year calling for Trump's impeachment. The campaign put him at odds with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and other establishment Democrats.