Entrepreneurs

Meet the billionaire businessman obsessed with impeaching Trump

Philanthropist Tom Steyer stands in front of one of the billboards he has funded in Times Square calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump on November 20, 2017 in New York City.
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Philanthropist Tom Steyer stands in front of one of the billboards he has funded in Times Square calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump on November 20, 2017 in New York City.

President Trump's approval rating has been hovering around 40 percent for months. There are a whole lot of people who would be very happy to see the controversial leader removed from the White House, but few are making any real progress in unseating Trump.

Tom Steyer is a notable exception.

The Californian has recently pledged $30 million to flip the House of Representatives from Republican to Democrat in the 2018 Congressional midterm elections. He's also delivering copies of Michael Wolff's behind-the-scenes look at the Trump White House, "Fire and Fury," to every member of Congress.

But who is Steyer? And how did he make all his money?

Steyer, 60, is currently worth $1.6 billion, according to Forbes. He graduated from Yale with his a bachelor's degree in 1979 and Stanford School of Business in 1983, according to his LinkedIn page. He launched the asset management firm, Farallon Capital Management, in 1986 and grew the company for the following 26 years.

Farallon Capital Management manages equities for college endowments, charitable foundations, pension plans and wealthy individuals. According to the global company's website, it currently has 180 employees.

In 2010, Steyer signed The Giving Pledge, an initiative co-founded by billionaire buddies Warren Buffett and Bill Gates whereby billionaires publicly pledge to give away more than half of their wealth.

"Almost by accident — we've focused on good investing not making money — we currently have more assets than we could reasonably spend in our lifetime. Our original impetus for saving money revolved around wanting our kids to enjoy the same educational opportunities that we had, so that they could succeed on their own terms, assuming that they worked hard," Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, wrote when they took the pledge.

"We want to leave our kids a different kind of inheritance, an example of at least trying to lead a worthy life," the couple wrote.

In 2012, Steyer left Farallon, and the following year launched NextGen Climate, a non-profit and political action committee focused on environmental issues. In 2017, Steyer expanded his ballot of core issues to include immigrant rights, affordable health care and equality and rebranded the organization as NextGen America.

Steyer is also co-founder, with Taylor, of the Beneficial State Bank in Oakland. Taylor is the CEO of the community bank, which the duo launched in 2007 and which aims to serve those individuals and small business owners who are otherwise unable to get access to loans. The community bank, however, does not add to Steyer's cash pile — the Beneficial State Bank reinvests all profits back into the community.

Currently, the former financier is largely focusing his efforts on impeaching President Trump. So far more than 4 million people have signed a digital record calling for Trump to be impeached through NeedToImpeach.com, which Steyer launched to support his efforts.

"A year ago, people around the country wondered what a Donald Trump presidency would look like. It's now 2018, and we have our answer. Our mission is clear — we have to take back the House," says the homepage for Steyer's personal website. "Our movement is going to take action to stand up to this president in 2018, and demand our representatives stand with us. With the people on our side, we're going to send a progressive wave across the country."

Steyer is aggressive in his attacks on Trump.

NextGen America is aiming to bring out half a million young voters in 2018 for the Congressional midterm elections, Governor's races and state legislatures. Steyer is putting $30 million behind the organization's efforts in key states, including New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona, Nevada and California.

"We are really focused on removing this president," Steyer told the New York Times. "I am willing to do whatever it takes to help save our country. I feel the most important task for me is organizing."

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