So far over fifty percent of the companies listed on the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Greentech Portfolio, of which KPCB partners are positioned on the board of many, have –– directly and indirectly –– received money from the "Obama Green Stimulus" package as well as through other government programs approved by the Obama administration.
AL GORE’S FISKER AUTOMOTIVE $529 MILLION DOE LOAN IGNITES RED FLAGS
One of the most blatant examples of government favoritism, catching headlines in the Wall Street Journal back in September 2009 (Gore-Backed Car Firm Gets Large U.S. Loan) was the $529 million dollar government loan guarantee (which was cinched in May 2010) that Fisker Automotive received to build its high end, hybrid sports coupe, Fisker Karma, to be manufactured in Finland and sold for $89,000. Fisker Automotive was a 2008 investment for Kleiner Perkins and it was confirmed that Gore has already purchased his Karma.
In June 2009 the DOE announced three other large government loans that included $5.9 billion to Ford Motor Company, $1.6 billion to Nissan Motors, and $465 million to Tesla Motors. Although the four loans came out of the DOE's $25-billion Advanced Technologies Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program, it was approved by the Obama administration and it did ignite some red flags.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, "the awards to Fisker and Tesla prompted criticism from groups that question why vehicles aimed at the wealthiest customers are getting loans subsidized by taxpayers" and "concern from companies that had their bids for loans rejected." Included in the reaction was Leslie Paige, a spokeswoman for Citizens Against Government Waste. "This is not for average Americans. It's status symbol thing," Ms. Paige added. More gripping is the fact that this favoritism didn’t sit well with some of the firms that were turned down for loans from the DOE –– stating "they did not get much feedback from the department about their applications" and "were unable to get a full explanation as to why their loan request was turned down."
THE VINOD KHOLSA CONNCECTION
The CEO of EcoMotors John Colettie, whose $20 million ATVM loan from the DOE was denied, didn’t have an “issue” with the winners. Probably because EcoMotors' lead investor is Vinod Khosla, an affiliated partner of Kleiner Perkins, whose firm Khosla Ventures has also invested in some of the same companies as Kleiner Perkins, which have received government funding including Obama Green Stimulus cash. Those companies include; AltaRock Energy Inc., $25 million grant from the stimulus; Amyris Biotechnologies, $25 million grant from the stimulus; and Mascoma Corporation has received state and federal grants from the DOE since 2006, totaling over $170 million and as recent as 2008, received another $49.5 million in funding from the DOE and the state of Michigan.