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Exclusive: Did 2016’s Top Donor Want A Clinton Camp Post?

An email in the Podesta leaks – reported for the first time by NTK – shows Podesta speculating that billionaire Tom Steyer needed a formal campaign post to support Clinton.

Tom Steyer

Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer unexpectedly found himself in the spotlight Monday when reports surfaced that former Obama chief of staff John Podesta wanted Steyer considered for energy secretary.

The revelation came from an email, revealed in WikiLeaks’ Podesta release, that showed new levels of coordination between Podesta – now Clinton campaign chairman – and Steyer, the top donor of the 2016 cycle.

But an email exchange in this morning’s batch of Podesta emails – reported for the first time by NTK – reveals Podesta thought Steyer needed a formal title to jump on board Team Clinton in 2015.

On April 6, 2015, top Clinton finance aide Dennis Cheng emailed Podesta with the subject “Tom Steyer,” asking: “Have you guys heard from him or his team about his plans to be helpful?”

Podesta replied:

“Don’t think he has made a final call. Depends on whether we would give him something official, like California co-chair. … I think if we don’t make a move and ask him to do something specific, he’ll stay in the NextGen world.”

Steyer endorsed Clinton as the Democratic primary reached its conclusion – in June 2016 – without any formal role on the campaign. He is now spending millions to get her elected.

Cheng, for his part, wondered if Steyer needed “to have [a] title to work hard for [the] campaign.”

Podesta, a friend of Steyer, seemed to think so. This could explain why Steyer waited so long to endorse Clinton.