At the conclusion of the week-long hearing on “cap and trade” legislation in the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday, the Democrats’ headline witness was none other than Mr. Global Warming himself, former Vice President Al Gore.
One member of the panel, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), took the opportunity to ask her fellow Tennessean a multi-million dollar question on behalf of “some of his former constituents.”
Throughout Gore’s earlier testimony, he had questioned the integrity of scientists and studies that found the opposite conclusions of his personal view: there is no smoking gun either proving or disproving that the behavior of humans is in any way responsible for climate change. Gore blamed greed and corporate profits for manipulation of outcomes of studies that disproved his theories.
But when Blackburn asked about his investments in green technology and the millions of dollars he stands to pocket at the expense of the American taxpayer should this cap and trade legislation become law, the former vice president was outraged.
Here is a partial transcript of their exchange:
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN: Vice President Gore… You talked a little bit about people have to have trust in what we’re doing, and I think you know that this bill is going to fundamentally change the way America works, and it’s going to affect families. We’ve all talked about how it affects individuals and what it’s going to do to their budgets and what it’s going to do to jobs in this country. Given the magnitude of those changes, I think that 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 for some of your former constituents.
I’ve got an article from the October 8 New York Times Magazine about a capital firm called Kleiner-Perkins. Are you aware of that company?
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: Why, yes, I’m a partner in Kleiner-Perkins.
BLACKBURN: So you’re a partner in Kleiner-Perkins, okay. They have invested about a billion dollars in 40 companies that are going to benefit from cap and trade legislation, the legislation that we are discussing here today. Is that something that 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 in to a non-profit, the Alliance for Climate Protection, to spread awareness of why we have to take on this challenge. Congresswoman, if you’re… 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.
BLACKBURN: Sir, 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, so I am asking you for them…
GORE: I understand exactly what you’re doing, Congresswoman, everybody here does.
BLACKBURN: Well, are you willing to divest yourself of any profit, does all of it go to a not- for-profit that is an educational —
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.
BLACKBURN: I am simply asking for clarification —
GORE: [overlapping] Do you think there’s something wrong with being active in business in this country? I’m proud of it
BLACKBURN: — of the relationship.
GORE: I’m proud of it.
BLACKBURN: Thank you, and I appreciate the answer. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Rep. Blackburn spoke with HUMAN EVENTS in the hallway outside of the hearing after her questioning of Gore.
Blackburn told me, “I have constituents who are very concerned about this,” Blackburn said. “This legislation is going to cost a lot of households a lot of money. We know that. Everybody that we have questioned this week has said yes the price at the pump is going to go up, your electricity rates are going up, even the President said that they would ‘necessarily skyrocket.’
“My constituents wanted an answer to this question. There have been reports that the Vice President was heavily invested in green technologies, and they wanted to know was he doing this because he’s going to personally benefit so that was the nature of my question, it was asked in good faith. As I said, it was an opportunity for him to clear the air — to set the record straight. I presented the question in that manner, and I wish it had been received in that manner.”
I asked about Gore’s dodging her questions about his personal income from these ventures and his willingness to divest himself from any future earnings.
“I did not get an answer to that question,” Blackburn said. “He just repeated the comment that he had been placing money from the movie and the book into a trust that was used for environmental education. … I did not feel I got an answer to that question.”
Al Gore has reportedly gone from a net worth of $2 million at the end of his Vice Presidency just over eight years ago to a net worth of over $100 million. Using Gore’s standards stated at the hearing, he should have to answer the hard questions about his financial motivations for backing the cap and trade legislation that will wreck the economy, cost millions of jobs and place the disproportionate burden of this massive energy tax on America’s Midwest.
Just how much of this taxpayer money is going to end up in Al Gore’s pocket?