It wasn’t the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson or Michael Bloomberg who gave the largest campaign donations in the last election. The biggest spender was San Francisco-based hedge fund manager and environmental activist Tom Steyer, who spent $74 million in congressional and gubernatorial campaigns, according to the Lost Angeles Times. Michael Bloomberg came in distant second with $27.7 million, Sheldon Adelson donated $13.2 million to Republican campaigns and David Koch gave $6 million.
Despite Steyer’s backing, Democrats lost in elections he bankrolled in Colorado and Iowa, but he say a pay off with Democratic victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Hampshire. However, it is not clear whether environmental issues were the at the forefront of voters’ minds when they approached the polls. Steyer said, “Human beings care about human beings and they care about local issues. If you want to discuss energy and the climate with someone, you better be talking about human beings, how they live and who they love. If you can’t do that, it’s not an issue.”
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Although Republicans gained control of the Senate, Steyer sounded hopeful that 2014 was just the starting point for increased focus on environmental issues. Steyer founder of NextGen, an environmental activist group, was born in New York City. His mother was Episcopalian and his father was Jewish and a member of New York’s Temple Emmanu-El.