Steyer goes to bat for anti-Keystone Dems under attack

Tom SteyerTom Fahr SteyerCampaign announces Steyer qualifies for South Carolina debate Trailing Democrats tout strength with black voters ahead of South Carolina Sunday shows - 2020 spotlight shifts to South Carolina MORE is vowing to throw his political weight and money behind any lawmaker in Congress who comes under attack for opposing the Keystone XL pipeline.

The billionaire hedge fund manager turned environmental activist penned an open letter on Thursday, pledging to utilize his primarily self-funded super-PAC, NextGen Climate Action, to back members of Congress that face attack from pro-Keystone XL groups heading into the midterms. [READ THE LETTER HERE.]


"We stand ready, willing and able to support those members who have been threatened because they had the courage to stand up for our children and oppose the Keystone XL pipeline," Steyer wrote in the letter.

Steyer also slammed the prominent conservative pro-fossil-fuel donors Charles and David Koch in the letter for spending tens of millions in a battle to help Republicans gain control of the Senate.

"It takes courage for our representatives to stand up and fight against such powerful interests," the letter states.

The letter comes nearly one week after a top building trades union launched a midterm-election assault against House Democrats who oppose the $5.4 billion oil-sands pipeline.

President of the Laborers' international Union of North America (LIUNA) Terry O'Sullivan called on union members to make sure their representative "feels the power and the fury of LIUNA this November" in a letter distributed to the districts of the 27 House Democrats.

While Steyer's letter could ease the minds of those lawmakers who have come under fire, it could also put others in a corner.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) has yet to take a stance on Keystone XL, and the letter from Steyer isn't going to change that. 

"Sen. Udall still believes Congress should not be injecting politics into the review process. That’s why he voted against the Republican and Democratic budget amendments last year and why he did not sign the recent Heitkamp letter," Mike Saccone, a Udall spokesman, said in an email.

Still, Udall has held multiple talks with Steyer on climate change, one at the billionaire's California home, making him a special case.

And while Steyer's fight against Keystone XL has put some Democrats like Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) in the line of fire, some of Steyer's closest advisers have made clear he does not want to jeopardize Democrats' chances of holding the Senate.