Blackburn challenges Gore's motives

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) challenged Al Gore's motives for supporting climate change legislation when the former VP appeared before a House panel today.

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Blackburn noted Gore's role as partner in Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, a venture capital firm that invests in technology to address global warming.

Blackburn asked Gore if he stood to benefit financially from cap-and-trade legislation, which would force companies to reduce carbon emissions. Companies would likely turn to the kinds of technologies Kleiner Perkins helps develop.

"This bill is going to fundamentally change the way America works." Given the magnitude of those changes, I think it's really important that no suspicion or shadow fall on the foremost advocates of climate change legislation. So I wanted to give you the opportunity to kind of clear the air about your motives and maybe set the record straight."

Here's what followed:
BLACKBURN: I've got an article from October 8th, the New York Times Magazine about a firm called Kleiner Perkins. A capital firm called Kleiner Perkins. Are you aware of that company?

GORE: (LAUGHS) Well yes, I'm a partner at Kleiner Perkins.

BLACKBURN: So you're a partner at Kleiner Perkins. OK. Now they have invested about a billion dollars in 40 companies that are going to benefit from cap and trade legislation. So is the legislation that we're discussing here today, is that something you are going to personally benefit from?

GORE: 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. But every penny that I have made, I have put right into a non-profit, the Alliance for Climate Protection, to spread awareness about why we have to take on this challenge. And Congresswoman, if you're, if you believe the reason I have been working on this issue for 30 years is because of greed, you don't know me.

BLACKBURN: I'm not making accusations. I'm asking questions that have been asked of me. And individuals, constituents that were seeking a point of clarity--

GORE: I understand exactly what you're doing, Congresswoman. Everybody here does.

BLACKBURN: Well, are, you know, are you willing to divest yourself of any profit? Does all of it go to a not-for-profit that is an educational not-for-profit.

GORE: Every penny that I have made has gone to it. Every penny from the movie, from the book, from any investments in renewable energy. I've been willing to put my money where my mouth is. Do you think there's something wrong with being active in business in this country?