John Podesta, a top adviser to President Obama who now serves as the chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, touted billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer to be considered as Obama's first energy secretary, according to hacked email correspondence posted on WikiLeaks.
In a Sept. 24, 2008, email to the late Obama adviser Cassandra Butts, Podesta suggested Steyer be considered for the Cabinet position, as well as former Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Shirley Ann Jackson, former U.S. senator Tim Wirth of Colorado and then-Denver mayor John Hickenlooper.
Obama ended up picking physicist Steven Chu. But Podesta continued to push for Steyer in 2013, when Chu was leaving, telling The Washington Post that the hedge fund founder has “got the right skill set, the understanding and attitude to lead an energy transformation in this country.”
“I think he would be a fabulous choice for energy secretary,” Podesta, who served as an adviser to Steyer, said in 2013, “and I’ve let my friends in the administration know that.”
Back in 2008, Steyer was still running his investment fund, Farallon Capital Management, and had been a major fundraiser for Clinton in the Democratic primaries. He went to serve as one of Obama's biggest backers in his 2012 reelection campaign and is now a top outside ally of Clinton. In an interview with The Post last month, Steyer said he plans to put at least $45 million into super PACs working to mobilize voters for Clinton and down-ballot Democrats. He currently is the top super PAC donor of the 2016 cycle.
The hacked email shows that as Podesta weighed in on candidates for the Environmental Protection Agency eight years ago, he identified Katie McGinty, who headed the White House Council on Environmental Quality under Clinton and is now running for Senate in Pennsylvania, along with two prominent New England environmentalists, Dan Esty and Ian Bowles. Esty is an environmental law and policy professor at Yale University, whose wife, Elizabeth Esty, is a two-term Democrat in the House, while Bowles served as Massachusetts's secretary of energy and environmental affairs from 2007 to 2011.