No. 48: Capitol Weekly’s Top 100

Illustration by Chris Shary

48: Alastair Mactaggart

Alastair Mactaggart is the latest addition to a developing California political phenomenon — the idealistic multimillionaire. Tom Steyer and Charles Munger Jr. are earlier versions, with widely differing viewpoints on public policy. Mactaggart broke into the headlines earlier this year as the $3.5 million backer of a proposed state ballot initiative aimed at increasing internet consumer privacy protection. Silicon Valley geared up to spend millions opposing it. Mactaggart said he would withdraw his ballot measure only if an agreement could be reached on legislation increasing privacy protection was made into law.  Legislation doing that was passed and signed into law only hours before the deadline after three days of intense negotiations. Assemblyman Ed Chau and Sen. Bob Hertzberg banged heads to produce the agreement. Mactaggart, who made his fortune in San Francisco real–estate development, says he became interested in boosting consumer privacy protection after talking with a Google engineer and learning how much information about their customers the high-tech giants could ascertain.

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