How Gore became as rich as Romney

The former veep's loss to Bush allowed him to focus on business. Selling Apple stock and Current TV added plenty to his coffers.

By Aimee Picchi May 7, 2013 10:05AM

Photo illustration of Al Gore (left) and Mitt Romney (© Arnulfo Franco, Jacquelyn Martin/AP)Losing to George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election may have been the best thing to happen to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's bank account. 

When Gore was running for president, he had a net worth of about $1.7 million, not shoddy by any means. Yet today, Gore's fortune may have topped $200 million, making his previous wealth seem paltry by comparison. 

The former senator has transformed himself into a mogul whose wealth rivals that of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was often derided during last year's election for being out of touch with the average American. 

Gore's new-found wealth has also served as an irritant, with many Americans now perceiving him as a hypocritical liberal who's enjoying the bounty of capitalism -- like his lavish, energy-hogging Nashville home -- while telling the rest of us to turn off the lights and switch to fluorescent bulbs. 

Whatever you may think of Gore, how he earned his millions makes for a fascinating look at the intersection of business, political access and luck. Below are seven ways he built his fortune, according to a report from Bloomberg

Selling $30 million in Apple stock. Gore joined Apple's (AAPL) board when the late Steve Jobs asked him to take on the role in March 2003. Apple was trading at $7.50 per share when Gore got on board, and now the stock trades above $400. Earlier this year, he made $30 million from the sale of 59,000 shares he had been granted for serving on the board. 

Earning $175,000 per speech: While his best-selling books, such as "An Inconvenient Truth," haven't added to his wealth -- he pledged their earnings to his nonprofit, the Climate Reality Project -- they've made him hot on the speaker's circuit, where he earns $175,000 per speech. 

Paying himself $1.2 million: Gore, along with partners including Los Angeles billionaire Ron Burkle, bought a small Canadian cable news network for $70 million in 2004 and renamed it Current TV. Gore paid himself $1.2 million a year in salary and bonuses, while the network failed to gain a mass audience. 

Reaping $70 million from Current TV's sale: Even though Current had failed to compete on the same level as Time Warner's (TWX) CNN and News Corp.'s (NWS) Fox News, Gore and his partners sold the network to Al Jazeera earlier this year for about $500 million. Gore's profit was an estimated $70 million for his 20% stake. 

Splitting $218 million in investment profits: Gore founded an investment firm called Generation Investment Management with former Goldman Sachs (GS) executive David Blood in 2004. While it's not known how much Gore has made from the venture, it took in about $218 million in profits from 2008 to 2011, which were to be split among its 26 partners. It's believed that Gore and Blood have the largest equity stakes. 

Getting rich pay from Google:  Before Gore was asked to serve on Apple's board, he worked as a senior adviser to Google (GOOG) prior to its 2004 IPO. While Google won't discuss Gore's pay, some people believe it might be as large as his remuneration from Apple. 

Holding $45.6 million in Apple shares and options: Gore continues to hold a sizable chunk of Apple restricted stock and options, with a gross value of more than $45.6 million. 

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.

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May 7, 2013 10:13AM
And so he is applauded for being one of the crowd that moves from govenment to business to gain an advantage for the company heserves and Romney was demonized.  The one thing the democrats have shown is how lying to the voters and taking advange of government contacts really does help.
May 7, 2013 11:02AM
The article doesn't mention that Al Jazeera is owned by the Qatari government.  I guess environmental Al didn't mind taking those petroleum dollars.
May 7, 2013 12:12PM
He became a lying hypocrite just like the rest of the liberals
May 7, 2013 11:19AM
While I think he is right about global warming, (but was he exagerating?) he does seem like a hypocrit. I've always wondered how very rich Democrats (Teddy Kennedy prime example) can live with themselves for advocating huge amounts for the poor and yet keeping their inflated wealth and not donating it.
May 7, 2013 11:29AM

Clinton is also high end multimillionaire and Obama will be too. Hillary still collecting with fundraisers while spending over 6 million for Chelsea's wedding.


Whom to admire? One working hard in business, taking risk and making money or politicians. Politics is a good business. You are always a winner once elected. Interest groups ar throwing money at you and your contacts are worth millions.


This is so in America, it is so in dictatorial rules, communist rules, rich and poor country alike.


No wonder we average buffoons are screwed worshipping our moral less leaders.

May 7, 2013 12:03PM
his joke of ethanol fuel sure made him rich and us poorer
May 7, 2013 11:30AM

This is a Rich vs. Poor issue not a Right vs. Left issue.
Whenever any human gets that kind of power it will corrupt them. 
Instead of fighting each other based on what party we more agree with why not fight against the power that both parties have over all of us?
May 7, 2013 12:09PM
And he sold the station to Al Jazeera.
I don't have a problem at all with the $, it's the lecturing I can't take...

May 7, 2013 10:19AM
nothing worse than having a dem hit the big time.
May 7, 2013 11:34AM

Americans admire the rich and powerful and forgive them their greed or any special treatment they may get.
Both conservative and liberal men and women have worked hard to build successful businesses while both conservative and liberal politicians have used their influence to gain an unfair advantage over the normal working person
May 7, 2013 11:24AM

In the same way that rich democrats are hypocrites about making money off the backs of the poor rich republicans are hypocrites for wanting a big government to protect their business interests and to give them special tax breaks. Why can no one see that both sides don't care about you they just want to make money?
May 7, 2013 10:32AM
surprise, surprise. al finally found his niche and it wasn't as some lackey second in charge butt kissing polititian.
May 7, 2013 1:10PM

Not to mention that 7 of the top 10 richest in Congrss are Democrats, yet their sheeple are fooled into directing their hate for rich to Republcians as they keep getting richer. Sad to be so simple minded to fall for this slight of hand trick.

May 7, 2013 1:29PM
The one thing I remember when Gore was running for President and his tax returns came out is that he gave very little to charity. I learned that I  gave more to charity than he did and I was and still am a lower middle class wage earner.  I can only wonder is Al's charitable contributions are still pitiful. One thing you have to say about Romney is that he was and is very generous with his charitable contributions.
May 7, 2013 1:31PM
 The difference between Gore and Romney is that one made their money prior to becoming a politician, and the other made their money after.  Which do you think is more corrupt?
May 7, 2013 12:18PM
Notice they have to compare him to Romney.   Not the absurdly wealthy Kerry's or Kennedy's.

Meanwhile, this has been a record cold April, Russia had it's worst snow in a CENTURY, China the worst winter in 50 years, Russia hit -96, a record for the NORTHERN HEMISPHERE, and the NOAA tells us there hasn't been global warming for 17 years, but a trend to cooling.

Do they ever discuss that?   Nope, the Nazis have to hide the truth from you sheeple who let Jon Stewart and Chris Matthews think for you.
May 7, 2013 1:31PM

Al Gore is the biggest lying liberal SCUM BAG i have ever had the pleasure of meeting...


 Very Slipery - should sell used cars  or ICE.


 His home uses more ENERGY in One Month than I could use in 30 years.......


 ECO friendly my @$$..........

May 7, 2013 12:33PM

easy, while romney worked good old AL lied and made feel good movies that tricked some of the tree huggers into sending him money thinking he was going to help the environment. then he sits back with their money in his mansion and rides around in his jet (both spewing Co2).

he makes up things and calls them facts as the simple minded lefties will believe anything.  basically romney is a business man working for his family and the strengths of the usa while AL sits on his butt trying to scam people into believing his crap, you know the type a cross between obama, joe biden and a used car salesman in a bad part of town... I think I nailed this one

May 7, 2013 12:20PM
Just another politically connected crook, and a hypocrite, to boot.
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