The WaPo has an extensive article on Al Gore and his green investments. It’s laughable.

Exhibit one:

“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.”

A savvy investor? Yes. In good businesses? No. In politically connected businesses? Yes. And the WaPo even provides the evidence, in a separate link.

Exhibit the second:

White House officials have rejected charges of favoritism.

“These are merit-based decisions made by professionals with the relevant policy expertise,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.

One of the rare times Gore addressed the questions, at a congressional hearing in 2009, Republicans had suggested that Obama’s agenda appeared destined to help him become the nation’s first “carbon billionaire.”

Gore bristled when Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked if he stood to profit from his investments and political connections.

“I believe that the transition to a green economy is good for our economy and good for all of us, and I have invested in it,” he said. “And, congresswoman, if you believe that the reason I have been working on this issue for 30 years is because of greed, you don’t know me.”

And if you believe that…well, then I’ve got a baseball signed by Mickey Mantle that I’d like to sell you.

Saying that the evidence that you will act a certain way is “that you [do] know me” is about as weak as any possible evidence one could have. He said, she said. No, it’s worse than that. It’s: I said this about myself so you better believe it. Real evidence would be a portfolio of successful energy companies invested in with or without government support and for which Al Gore had absolutely no financial stake in (as in, under no circumstances made $$$). That would be evidence worth believing in. (I’m not saying it would make sense for Al Gore to do this. I’m just saying that’s what it would take to have something that resembled objective evidence.)

Now, in all fairness, we don’t know that the government threw money at Gore because he’s Gore and an insider; they could have legitimately (that is, as legitimately as they can…they’re the government, after all, and ought not to be investing in any businesses, so it’s illegitimate no matter how you look at it) been investing in the businesses. But we do know that Gore doesn’t even think green businesses are sound businesses. How do we know? He doesn’t really invest in them. Here is Generation Investments’ last quarterly SEC holdings filing. Notice anything about the companies on the list? Correct: none of them are green anything companies. (In all fairness to the investment company, this is fine: there aren’t any businesses in “green” that are worth investing in as businesses. There might be green businesses worth investing in as government charity cases; but no actual sound businesses qua businesses.)

If you’re trying to figure out who the biggest faker is, you probably need to look no further. Al Gore has used his green crusade to make himself a lot of money.  Maybe he even actually cares about the environment, but I doubt it.

Incentives matter. Would you sell out for $100 million? I’m guessing the answer is yes; especially if you had to break no laws and could act under the veneer of actually caring about what you said you did.

-JD Cross

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