Kleiner’s dirtying its hands in the oil patch was something of a head-scratcher. Back then the firm had recently hired Al Gore as a partner. But money is money, oil was trading for $140 a barrel, and Terralliance was said to have developed software that reduced the risk of drilling dry holes. It looked as if Terralliance could be a moneymaker for Kleiner, which had sunk a total of $65 million into the venture, an extraordinary sum for a VC firm — possibly its biggest single investment ever.
But less than one year later, Terralliance has faired poorly, burning through hundreds of millions of dollars, according to Fortune. The salient facts, here, are not that one of Kleiner Perkins investments went south, but the following:
- Kleiner Perkins and Goldman Sachs had both invested in Terralliance;
- Given that Terralliance was venture capital-funded by Kleiner Perkins, Goldman Sachs and a few others, Kleiner Perkins and Goldman knew that they were essentially financial partners in Terralliance’s success.
- Al Gore joined Kleiner Perkins as a partner well before Kleiner Perkins entered into the Terralliance deal.
- As a Kleiner Perkins partner, Al Gore must have known, if not approved of the Terralliance deal, and that it involved Goldman Sachs. At the very least, under partnership law, such knowledge is legally imputed to him as a partner.
- Kleiner Perkins investment in Terralliance was not trivial, but perhaps its largest ever in any enterprise. Gore must have known about it.
Getting back to the April 24 House Energy And Environment Subcommittee hearing, when Rep. Scalise asked Gore,
… and I know you’ve got interests with Goldman Sachs.
To which, Gore made facial gestures that virtually implied he had never even heard of Goldman Sachs. Gore then replied,
Rep. Scalise continued,
… well, that’s been reported. If — is that not accurate?
No. I wish I did, but I don’t.
There you have Gore flatly denying that he had interests with Goldman Sachs when he clearly did. The irony is that during Gore’s exchange with Rep. Scalise, he accused the fossil fuel industry of lying to Scalise and the American people for 14 years. As it turns out, the part of the fossil fuel industry that lied to Rep. Scalise and the American people was none other than Terralliance-investor Al Gore himself. Transcript of Rep. Steve Scalise-Al Gore exchange during the April 24, 2009 House Energy and Environment Subcommittee hearing on the Waxman-Markey climate bill.
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As we debate what I agree is a very important piece of legislation, a piece of legislation, in my opinion, and many others, that would have very detrimental effects on our economy if it was implemented the way it’s been drafted. We’ve been trying to get a quantifiable grasp on the cost of this bill — how much it would actually cost American families; how many jobs would be created and lost? And we’ve — number one, on the science side, we’ve had very divergent views. We’ve had dozens of experts come, over the last few days, and testify, giving very different opinions on the science. On the economics of it, we have not had the same kind of divergence. In fact, most economists and experts that have testified on the cost acknowledge — in fact, I’ll refer to President Obama’s own budget that was just passed two weeks ago. If you go to page 119 often President’s budget, he’s anticipating generating $646 billion in new tax revenue from this bill. So, clearly, the president expects this bill to generate $646 billion in new taxes that even his own budget director has said would be passed on to consumers… And then, Senator Gore, talk to the numbers that this Congressional Budget Office — and now the president’s budget director, gave to your bill, and how that would relate to this bill in terms of the cost to American families of implementing a cap-and-trade energy tax… MR. GORE: Congressman, you began by denying that there is a consensus on the science. There is a consensus on the science. REP. SCALISE: Well, you must not have been listening to our testimony that we’ve had for the last few days, with dozens of experts that have come in, who have given completely different views. MR. GORE: Well, there – REP. SCALISE: So, I would — I would encourage you to go back and look at the testimony that this committee’s heard. MR. GORE: There are people who still believe that the moon landing was staged on a movie lot in Arizona. But – REP. SCALISE: And neither of us are one of those. And I know you like giving those cute anecdotes. This is not a cutsie issue. We’re talking about – MR. GORE: No, that’s, that’s – (Cross talk.) REP. SCALISE: — that could export millions of jobs out of our economy, out of our country. And testimony’s been given just to those numbers. And so we’re talking about a serious consequence that there would be on this country, and the carbon leakage that would occur, where the carbon would be emitted but it would be emitted in China and India, and the jobs would go to China and India. And that’s been testified before this committee in the last few days as well. MR. GORE: Man – REP. SCALISE: So testify about the actual costs. Do you want to – MR. GORE: Man – REP. SCALISE: — talk about the costs? MR. GORE: — man-made — global warming pollution causes global warming. That’s not a cutsie issue. It’s not an open issue – REP. SCALISE: It’s your — and it’s your opinion, obviously. You’ve stated it many times. MR. GORE: It’s the — it’s the – REP. SCALISE: But, would you talk to the cost? MR. GORE: — it’s the opinion of global scientific community. And, more importantly – REP. SCALISE: They’re not in unanimity. There are others on the other side. MR. GORE: — more importantly, more importantly, Congressman, that opinion is the opinion of the scientific studies conducted by the largest corporate carbon polluters 14 years ago, who have lied to you and who have lied to the American people for 14 years – REP. SCALISE: And you talk about carbon — and I’ve got to — I’m running out of time, we talk about carbon polluters. You talk about them. It’s my understanding that back in 1997, when you were vice president, Enron’s CEO, Ken Lay, was involved in discussions with you at the White House, about helping develop this type of policy, this trading scheme. Is that accurate? Is it inaccurate? It’s been reported. MR. GORE: I don’t know. But I met with Ken Lay, as lots of people did, before anybody knew that he was a crook. REP. SCALISE: Right. And clearly you can see why so many of us are concerned about this type of cap-and-trade energy tax that would be literally turning over this country’s energy economy. MR. GORE: I didn’t know him well enough to call him quot;Kenny boy.quot; REP. SCALISE: Well, you — but you knew him well enough to help devise this trading scheme. And, obviously, we know what Enron and these big guys on Wall Street, like Goldman Sachs — and I know you’ve got interests with Goldman Sachs. MR. GORE: No. REP. SCALISE: These people — well, that’s been reported. If — is that not accurate? MR. GORE: No. I wish I did, but I don’t – REP. SCALISE: With executives from — you’re partnered in companies with executives from Goldman Sachs. Well, if you’re not, either way, Enron clearly had an interest in doing this when they were around, and we saw what they did. And when you see the types of people involved in wanting to set up this kind of scheme, you can see why so many of us are concerned about – MR. GORE: Are you – REP. SCALISE: — turning our energy economy over to a scheme that was devised by companies like Enron and some of these Wall Street firms that – MR. GORE: Well, that – REP. SCALISE: — have wrecked our financial economy. MR. GORE: — I don’t really know if you want me to respond to that. I guess what you’re trying to say — you’re trying to – REP. SCALISE: I mean, clearly, there would be – (Cross talk.) REP. SCALISE: — big winners and big losers. MR. GORE: — you’re trying to say — there’s some kind of guilt by association? Is that your – REP. SCALISE: Not association. I’m saying that there are going to be big winners and big losers in this bill. And that’s been discussed by everybody talking — big winners and big losers. But, some of the big winners are some of the very financial experts that helped destroy our financial marketplace. And I think that should be noted, that companies like Enron helped come up with this trading scheme that was invoked – MR. GORE: Enron didn’t – REP. SCALISE: — in cap-and-trade. MR. GORE: — Enron didn’t create this proposal in any way, shape or form – REP. SCALISE: Well, the details are not in this bill – MR. GORE: — that’s a false accusation. REP. SCALISE: — the details are not in this bill, and I would suggest that they are.