Strange Bedfellows? Not on K Street, as Khosla Hires Condi

Top Democratic donor and green energy government loan recipient Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures has hired former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s consulting firm, RiceHadleyGates, to help its startup companies navigate political and regulatory hurdles.

In October 2012, Mr. Khosla donated one million dollars to Priorities USA Action, a top liberal super PAC that backed President Barack Obama’s reelection.  According to Reuters, since 1996, Mr. Khosla has made at least $474,534 in campaign donations, 86% of which went to Democrats.

Mr. Khosla’s companies have bagged millions in taxpayer-funded stimulus money and government loan guarantees.  As Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer reported in his book, Throw Them All Out:

“He was a major investor in Coskata, a relatively new company whose goal is to make fuel out of waste.  Coskata received a $250 million loan guarantee from the federal government.  Company executives have been quite clear that one important measure of corporate success is the amount of ‘government money we attract.’  Khosla’s Nordic Windpower was approved for another $16 million for a wind power manufacturing facility in Idaho.  And his company AltaRock secured $25 million in stimulus money.”

As Breitbart News has reported, Mr. Khosla is one of the venture capital funders behind Gevo, Inc., a Colorado biofuels company that sold the United States Air Force $639,000 of alcohol-to-jet fuel at $59 a gallon as part of President Barack Obama’s effort to “green” the U.S. military.

Mr. Khosla was also the chief backer of the now-defunct Range Fuels, a biofuel company that received a $64 million government-guaranteed loan. 

Ms. Rice’s firm, which is made up of former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, says it helps companies “develop and implement their strategic plans and help companies expand in major emerging markets, including Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.” 

During the 2012 presidential election, Ms. Rice strongly supported Mr. Obama's GOP challenger Gov. Mitt Romney and spoke at the Republican National Convention.  Yet despite their political differences, Bloomberg News notes that this won’t be the first time Ms. Rice has worked with Mr. Khosla and his companies:

Rice, 58, has some experience working with Khosla Ventures companies already. She’s on the board of Kior Inc. (KIOR), a renewable energy company that was started in 2007 as a joint venture between Khosla and BIOeCon, a Dutch company. Kior, based in Pasadena, Texas, sold shares to the public last year.

It is presently unknown how much Khosla Ventures is paying RiceHadleyGates for its consulting services. 


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