The Arizona efforts of California billionaire Tom Steyer to bankroll an Arizona ballot measure to increase the renewable energy requirements on utilities was highlighted today in a report by the Center for Public Integrity on out-of-state billionaires influencing ballot measure elections across the country.
Using campaign finance data collected by the nonpartisan political encyclopedia Ballotpedia, CPI identified 25 billionaires who had invested a combined $70.7 million for initiative campaigns in 19 states where they do not reside.
That figure is more than 10 percent of the $648 million in disclosed ballot campaign spending that Ballotpedia has tracked in the U.S.
“And the total is likely an undercount of billionaires’ influence on this year’s ballot measures. It doesn’t include gifts from billionaire-led corporations, nor from nonprofits where the billionaires are among a multitude of backers, nor from nonprofits whose donors’ identities are unknown,” CPI reporter Liz Essley Whyte wrote.
Based on Ballotpedia’s numbers, CPI had Steyer spending $8.3 million on Proposition 127. However, when you take into account the money given to the Prop 127 campaign by NextGen Climate Action, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit Steyer controls and funds, the amount Steyer has pumped into Arizona skyrockets to $26.7 million.