Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Chronicle readers, beware. At a recent confab at a billionaire’s ranch, an elite gathering of business titans agreed to spend $100 million – thanks to legal loopholes that allow them to skirt federal campaign contribution limits – to elect like-minded politicians who will help them halt the wheels of government, move their party further from the political center and thwart the will of the American people.

In February, local billionaire Tom Steyer invited fellow liberal plutocrats to his Pescadero ranch, where he challenged them to produce $50 million – to match $50 million he has pledged – to help elect politicians who share their views on climate change. Brother Jim told the New Yorker that the brothers Steyer wanted to be the Koch brothers of the left. Tom Steyer nixed that notion, saying, “We think we’re representing the vast bulk of citizens of the United States. We’re not representing our pockets.”

Surely Steyer knows that is not true. He has devoted millions to help Democrats defeat GOP climate-change “deniers” and to discourage White House approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, a key battleground in the fight over global warming. Recent Pew polls found that 65 percent of Americans support approval of Keystone, 30 percent oppose it; voters rated global warming as the 19th most important national priority out of 20.

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