Tom Steyer’s glass house

Tom Steyer’s glass house

The psychiatric world defines “projection” as the act of denying unpleasant qualities in yourself, while attributing them to others. Consider liberal billionaire Tom Steyer’s riff this week about the libertarian billionaire Koch brothers.

Mr. Steyer took exception in a C-SPAN interview to comparisons between his big-dollar funding of Democrats with the Koch brothers’ big-dollar funding of Republicans. The Kochs’ priorities “line up perfectly with their pocketbooks—and that’s not true for us,” said Mr. Steyer, who is fighting against the Keystone XL pipeline. Moreover, he insisted, his politicking is “completely open,” whereas the Kochs have “not been huge embracers of transparency.”

Why is Mr. Steyer so touchy about motives and transparency? The media tend to give liberal spending a pass, since they assume its motives and aims are pure. Mr. Steyer’s problem—and he knows it—is that his own purity remains hugely suspect, even among his allies.

It’s old news that the billionaire reaped his fortune at hedge fund Farallon Capital, via investments in “dirty” oil and coal projects. Mr. Steyer, who retired from the firm in late 2012, has since publicly repented for his prior investment ways. But what many greens remember is that he didn’t do so until he was caught.

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