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WP: Al Gore Got Rich Through ‘Green Cronyism’

From the Washington Post, of all places:

Al Gore has thrived as green-tech investor

By Carol D. Leonnig | Wed October 10, 2012

Before a rapt audience, Al Gore flashed slides on a giant screen bearing the logos of 11 clean energy companies he predicted could help slow climate change.

“We can’t wait. . . . We have a planetary emergency,” the former vice president told industry leaders and scientists at the 2008 conference. “Here are just a few of the investments that I personally think make sense.”

Today, several of those clean tech firms are thriving, including a solar energy start-up and a Spanish utility company that has dotted rural America with hundreds of wind turbines.

Al Gore is thriving, too…

Just before leaving public office in 2001, Gore reported assets of less than $2 million; today, his wealth is estimated at $100 million.

Gore charted this path by returning to his longtime passion — clean energy. He benefited from a powerful resume and a constellation of friends in the investment world and in Washington. And four years ago, his portfolio aligned smoothly with the agenda of an incoming administration and its plan to spend billions in stimulus funds on alternative energy

Fourteen green-tech firms in which Gore invested received or directly benefited from more than $2.5 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks, part of President Obama’s historic push to seed a U.S. renewable-energy industry with public money

What a coincidence!

“Maybe there’s someone as knowledgeable and passionate about climate change. I just haven’t met that person,” said Orin Kramer, a leading New York hedge fund manager, friend of Gore and top Democratic campaign bundler. “His schedule is intensely busy, and my sense is he lives a life that profoundly reflects his values and passions.”

Such as his energy-hogging estate in Tennessee. And his $9 million dollar sea level beach front estate in Montecito. And his SUVs.

Gore entered the investment world full time by co-founding Generation Investment Management, a London-based investment firm…

In late 2007, he became a senior investment partner at one of the world’s most successful venture capital firms, Kleiner Perkins. He was combining forces with longtime friend John Doerr in a joint mission to spur clean tech…

Gore’s venture partner, Doerr, had been raising money for Democrats to take back the White House, holding big-check receptions with Silicon Valley investors. He and fellow Kleiner partners and spouses donated more than $800,000 to Democrats, much of it for Obama and state efforts to get out the vote.

At GIM, five of Gore’s principals, including co-founder David Blood, wrote $130,000 in checks to aid Obama’s bid, according to the Center for Responsive Politics…

Gore’s orbit extended deeply into the administration, with several former aides winning senior clean-energy posts. Among them were Carol Browner, a former Gore political operative who became the president’s climate change czar, and Ron Klain, Gore’s former chief of staff who went to work for Vice President Biden overseeing the stimulus.

Those connections were underscored in October 2009, when Jonathan Silver, under consideration to head the $38 billion ­clean-energy loan program, hosted a party to help Gore raise money for the Alliance for Climate Protection…

Gore’s investments coincided with the government’s largest investment in clean tech. A full 10 percent, estimated at $80 billion to $90 billion, of the 2009 stimulus package was devoted to clean energy…

Several companies in Gore’s portfolio emerged as winners. Of the 11 companies he mentioned in his 2008 [Nobel Prize winning] slide show, nine received or directly benefited from stimulus or clean energy funding.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee and is a leading critic of clean tech funding, said Gore’s portfolio “is reflective of a disturbing pattern that those closest to the president have been rewarded with billions of taxpayer dollars . . . and benefited from the administration’s green bonanza in the rush to spend stimulus cash.” …

Generation Investment Management saw its earnings quadruple from 2008 to 2009, although there is no way to know how much can be tied to federal support…

Iberdrola Renovables, a wind subsidiary largely owned by the Spanish electricity giant Iberdrola, received $1.5 billion for 20 wind farms it built across the United States.

The company benefited from a program that had been reshaped by the Obama transition team to award cash grants to defray construction costs for renewable energy plants…

GIM also invested in Johnson Controls, a long-established Milwaukee company that in August 2009 won the largest award — $299 million — in a $2.4 billion program Obama had launched to help firms making electric car batteries…

But the company has dramatically scaled back, after executives concluded demand for electric cars was far lower than the administration forecast. The factory outfitted with stimulus funds is nearly idle, and plans to build a second plant have been postponed…

Gore’s support for companies that also won federal funds is a natural alignment of interests, his friends and partners said. Gore chose to invest in firms with promising technologies, they said, and it makes sense that the administration would choose some of the same firms in hopes of backing successful companies.

“Is he better than average” at picking the best companies, Kamarck asked. “Of course he is. Why is that a surprise? He’s spent his life studying this sector.”

Al Gore might be good at picking green tech companies, but he is even better at picking his friends.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, October 11th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “WP: Al Gore Got Rich Through ‘Green Cronyism’”

  1. GetBackJack

    His Daddy’s near gay affair with Armand Hammer and the resulting Communist influence is how I analyze Al Gore’s stunning rise in power and money. Because, having shaken hands with the man, I can tell you he’s as dumb as a box of manhole covers. Green is absolutely part of it since “Green” was birthed by the Communists as a political hammer to slow down American exceptionalism. Green though is for us. Not for Communists.

    For ya’ll what don’t know, Armand Hammer was described by the KGB as their Black Prince in America. Armand Hammer (that name can’t be by coincidence) sold pencils to the Soviets. Made so much money selling pencils he was able to become the world’s leading oil man.

    Well, that’s curious. How many pencils we talking about?

    Apparently a lot. Just like George Soros blew out of nowhere as a poor Iron Curtain Jew with no resources and suddenly controlled the world’s derivative and hedge fund markets and proceded to wage war on America. Those clever European Communists. From nothing to kings. Amazing. Just Al. From a dumb hillbilly to a man with international acclaim. Wow.

    Hammer sold so many pencils he was able to buy a spectacular Georgian townhouse in the toniest Washington address for Senator Gore and his family to live in while attending to the affairs of State as a Senator. Sounds rather Roman Senator to me.

    Al Gore would still be a two bit two room office attorney trying to win personal injury cases in Tennessee if his Daddy hadn’t suckled the Communist teat during his 18 years in office as a willing sycophant for Hammer.

    So, enjoy the swag, Albert Junior. You think it’s hot now, just wait until the Afterlife.

  2. Anonymoose

    My claim to fame is I met one of the Gore relatives in college…..and yes, the boring drone runs in the family.

    So…..9 of 11 companies benefited from or received funding? They talked about that like it’s something to be proud of. It’s all artificial, the demand, the production, the market. They want to get us off fossil fuels by making it as expensive and difficult as possible.

    The strategy of getting us off something for our own good sort of worked with smoking….but only by draconian laws and a legion of media reporters thinking everyone in America agreed with them.

    The trouble is there’s still a lot of oil out there; a lot of the cost increase is from foreign competition and gasoline futures being treated as a speculator’s market. The Green energy proposal would only work if we really were running out of oil. But to try and force us off gasoline while the rest of the world is still fine with it is economic and national suicide. we’ll be struggling to survive on wind power and solar while the rest of the world passes us by. But maybe that’s the plan.

    And $100 million dollars! Why isn’t he giving it all away in taxes to help poor and disadvantaged? What does a Green Eco-Warrior need with money in the first place? (Heavy sarcasm mode.)

  3. Rusty Shackleford

    ” But to try and force us off gasoline while the rest of the world is still fine with it is economic and national suicide. we’ll be struggling to survive on wind power and solar while the rest of the world passes us by. But maybe that’s the plan.”

    See: Spain




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