Recently-filed state records show that Steyer, a San Francisco hedge fund manager and major player in California politics, gave $500,000 to the No on 32 campaign on July 30.
Until now, those kinds of donations from individuals in the private sector have gone to the pro-Proposition 32 side. The measure is largely seen as much more business-friendly, since one of its provisions would end union and corporate use of payroll-deducted money for political purposes. That would cut off organized labor's primary vehicle for collecting political spending funds while leaving corporations relatively untouched, since they get funding from their company resources and executive donations.
Steyer committed $20 million to Proposition 39, a measure on the November ballot that would require multi-state companies to calculate their California taxes based solely on their proportion of sales in the state.
In 2010 Steyer donated $5 million to oppose a ballot measure that would have suspended California's landmark climate-change law, Assembly Bill 32. Voters rejected the proposal.
Steyer's firm, Farallon Capital Management LLC, has done business with CalPERS. The retirement system has a limited partner interest in the company's fund, according to CalPERS' 2011 annual investment report.