Hillary Clinton began a three-day fundraising swing through California Wednesday with an event hosted by billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer at his San Francisco home overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.
Steyer, a former hedge fund manager who opposes building the Keystone XL pipeline, reportedly spent tens of millions on Democrats in the midterm elections.
Clinton has not voiced an opinion on Keystone, which is still being studied by the Obama administration. In February, Obama vetoed a bill that would have approved construction of the $8 billion project to transport crude oil from Canada to Texas.
Clinton attended a second fundraiser at the Century Club hosted by Susie Tompkins Buell, a longtime friend who co-founded the Esprit clothing brand, and her husband Mark Buell. They also oppose the Keystone pipeline.
The conservative America Rising political action committee mocked Clinton for failing to take a stand on the issue.
“Hillary Clinton has dodged taking a stance on the Keystone XL pipeline so many times, she’s practically bragging about it now,” the group’s spokesman Jeff Bechdel. “But that won’t stop billionaire environmentalists like Tom Steyer from giving millions to her campaign and outside groups. And while Clinton claims to want to eliminate ‘unaccountable money’ in politics, it won’t stop her from attending a fundraiser hosted by Steyer, who poured $85 million into losing campaigns across the country last year.”
The former first lady, senator and secretary of state headlined the fundraisers as she launches what is expected to be a multimillion dollar campaign, according to a campaign aide.
The events are part of the campaign’s “Hillstarters” program, which urges donors to raise $27,000 through 10 contributions of $2,700, a smaller bundling program than other presidential campaigns.
Clinton spoke about building an economy, strengthening families and communities, fixing the political system, and national security, according to an aide.
Clinton’s finance team, including her campaign manager, Robby Mook; campaign chairman, John Podesta; and finance director, Dennis Cheng, has held a series of meetings with hundreds of small donors along the East Coast, including Washington, Virginia, Maryland and New York.