Capitol Alert

Was Steve Westly talked about for Energy Secretary, but shot down?

Former California Controller, Steve Westly attends the California delegation kickoff breakfast in Denver on Sunday, August 24, 2008.
Former California Controller, Steve Westly attends the California delegation kickoff breakfast in Denver on Sunday, August 24, 2008. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

Tom Steyer, the billionaire environmental activist, may not be the only possible candidate for California governor to receive a mention for President Barack Obama’s first energy secretary, according to a hacked email posted by WikiLeaks.

Former State Controller Steve Westly, a venture capitalist, clean-tech investor and major fundraiser for Obama in his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, looks to have come up in an email from Sara Latham to John Podesta, an Obama transition adviser and chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

In the correspondence, Latham wrote to Podesta under the subject line “message from Rahm.” Rahm Emanuel, the close Obama adviser who worked in Bill Clinton’s White House, ran the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and now serves as mayor of Chicago.

“Rahm just got off the phone with Speaker Pelosi,” Latham wrote, “who said if we were considering Wesley (?) for Energy, it would be a bad idea.”

Westly was identified in the 2008 email as “Wesley (?)” so it’s possible the email referred to someone else, including retired Gen. Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander. But the position would not have been too far out of Westly’s wheelhouse. After raising considerable money for Obama’s first presidential election, he went on to serve on an advisory panel to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the man Obama ultimately selected for the Cabinet post.

Westly’s spokeswoman said he could not immediately be reached to comment Friday afternoon. A spokesman for Pelosi did not immediately return a message Friday to explain why she may have opposed the appointment consideration.

Westly has held meetings with activists and supporters and has long said he is considering a run for governor when Jerry Brown steps down in two years.

Other hacked emails showed that Steyer, as well as then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, were among those listed as potential candidates to become energy secretary.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

  Comments