Tom Steyer challenges Koch brothers to climate debate

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Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer has challenged conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch to a debate on climate change.

Steyer’s invitation comes nearly a year after he first challenged the brothers to debate climate change and the merits of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.

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Steyer laid out his case Wednesday in The Huffington Post, two days after his group NextGen Climate announced that tying GOP presidential candidates to the Kochs would be its top priority in the 2016 campaign.

“I am formally inviting the Kochs — again — to participate in a public debate,” he wrote. “To stand up, be counted, and publicly justify themselves to the American people who are about to be overwhelmed by their electoral buying power.”

Steyer’s invitation hits on many of the same points that his political advisers have made in rolling out NextGen’s 2016 strategy.

He argues that the Kochs, especially through their political network’s pledge to spend $889 million in this election cycle, are putting their private interests above those of the public.

“If the Koch network is going to spend nearly $1 billion inundating voters with falsehoods during the 2016 race for the presidency, the least they can do is come to a battleground state and be transparent about their motives,” he said.

“Let's give voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, or any other battleground state of their choice the chance to see us put our mouths where our money is.”

The Kochs ended up declining last year’s debate invitation, and a spokeswoman said the brothers “are not experts on climate change.”