Don’t Call Tom Steyer a Mega-Donor

Don’t Call Tom Steyer a Mega-Donor

[Photo Illustration:    Mario Zucca   ]

[Photo Illustration: Mario Zucca]

Three months after the 2016 presidential election, a still-bald Chia Pet in the shape of Donald Trump’s noggin stands on a windowsill in a downtown San Francisco office building, basking in the fog. Art books and an issue of Mother Jones lie stacked on a nearby table. Paintings hang adjacent to a “living wall” of cascading leafy green plants. A receptionist offers coffee, tea, or kombucha, apologizing for being all out of mason jars as she pours water into a glass milk bottle instead. And Tom Steyer, the billionaire hedge fund manager turned political mega-influencer—and long-rumored maybe-someday candidate for elected office—sits in a nearby transparent conference room, ready to rant about emails.

“The emails are coming out on Tuesday,” Steyer says almost as soon as I sit down across from him. He is wearing a tweedy blazer and a primary-colored beaded belt and looks and acts more like a quirky professor than a global financier, more like a guy who’d teach The Bonfire of the Vanities than one of the Masters of the Universe described within. On the back of his hand, drawn in pen, is a Jerusalem cross that sort of resembles a tic-tac-toe board and serves as a tiny visual daily devotional that he says reminds him of humility and faith and also of his four kids. He tends to digress into poetry and/or statistics and/or “did you read that article”s when he speaks, and at the moment, he is asking whether I read that article about the court ruling, one day earlier on February 16, 2017, against Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt.

Katie Baker, writing for The Ringer, profiles Tom Steyer in this remarkable piece. Read it HERE.

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