The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

August 17, 2012
San Francisco hedge fund manager donates $500,000 to defeat Prop 32

Thumbnail image for 120817 Tom Steyer.jpgThe list of big donors to the campaign against Proposition 32 reads like a laundry list of unions -- with a notable exception: Thomas Steyer.

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.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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