Elections

California Billionaire Who Once Decried Use Of Money In Politics Spent Millions To Get On Dem Debate Stage: Report

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Billionaire Tom Steyer announced Tuesday that he satisfied another requirement to participate in the third Democratic debate stage in September.

Steyer said he managed to collect the support of 130,000 donors, one of the key pillars required to qualify for the third and fourth presidential debates, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The first two debates required candidates amass contributions from 65,000 unique donors or notch at least 1% in three polls.

The former hedge fund manager-turned-environmentalist needs to register at 2% support or higher in one more Democratic National Committee-approved poll before making it to the debate stage. Candidates must hit that plateau in four such polls. (RELATED: Steyer Spent More Than $1 Million On Facebook Ads In A Week)

Steyer has so far spent more than fellow White House hopefuls in his party on media overall with over $10 million, data from Advertising Analytics shows. He also plowed more than $1 million into Facebook advertising between Aug. 4 and Aug. 10, a number outpacing every other candidate in the field.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand talks to former Vice President Joe Biden (R) past former HUD Secretary Julian Castro (2nd L) and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (2nd R) on the second night of the second 2020 Democratic U.S. presidential debate in Detroit, Michigan, July 31, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

“I’m thrilled to announce that today we’ve reached the required 130,000 individual donors to appear in September’s debate. Just one more qualifying poll stands between us and that stage!” Steyer told his Twitter followers Tuesday.

Some Democratic candidates are not shy about voicing disapproval of what they believe are billionaires buying votes. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, for instance, has complained in the past about the undue influence billionaires have on American politics.

Steyer, who entered the race after initially closing the door to such prospects in January, is also known for decrying money in politics.

“And let me say one thing about campaign finance. We believe that Citizens United was a terrible decision,” Steyer told Bloomberg TV in 2016, referring to a law some activists believe ushered in the era of big money in elections. “We believe that it should be overturned. We believe that there is too much emphasis on money in politics.”

He deflected his influence on politics, telling reporters at the time that his money is based on strong values, not self-interest.

“When you look at money in politics — this is a David and Goliath situation; the other side has a lot more money. And that money is not transparent, self-interested, and it is much more sizable,” Steyer added.

Steyer’s campaign did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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