A strategist for billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer told reporters recently that Mr. Steyer's spending on political advocacy is in keeping with his signing of the Giving Pledge, according to the Daily Beast. Chris Lehane said political spending that does not confer economic advantage on the donor is within the spirit of the pledge by some 120 billionaires to give away half their wealth.
"In a democracy, influencing public policy to help improve the lives of the next generation often means getting involved in politics. That is how Tom sees it," said Mr. Lehane, a top aide to the former hedge-fund mogul. Mr. Steyer spent $74 million last year on efforts to elect environmentally friendly Democrats to office.
After the Daily Beast published an article on Mr. Lehane's comments and the blurring of lines between wealthy donors' political and philanthropic work, Mr. Steyer issued a statement through his office asserting that his promise to give half his fortune to charity is "wholly separate from any money I spend in my political efforts."