The increasingly loud rumors that California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D) got in early on the IPO of T. Boone Pickens’s natural gas vehicle distribution company, Clean Energy Fuels, have turned out to be true, according to the Wall Street Journal this morning. The WSJ reporter (and others recently) looked through Pelosi’s financial disclosure forms and says Pelosi and her husband’s investment in Clean Energy Fuels was valued at $50,000 to $100,000 when the shares opened at $12.10 on May 25, 2007 (the forms list investments at a range).
While a Pelosi spokesperson insists to the WSJ that the holding “does not raise any direct conflict-of-interest issues” Pelosi has been a supporter of legislation that would benefit increased use of natural gas. But the real question would be, has Pelosi been an advocate of California’s Prop 10? The ballot measure is backed by Pickens and would give thousands of dollars in rebates to natural gas vehicle buyers, as well as spending on R&D, and supposedly cost California $9.8 billion over 30 years. We haven’t heard her publicly backing Prop 10, and you can guess if she hasn’t yet, she definitely isn’t going to now.
Pelosi’s shares represent less than 1 percent of the couple’s assets, which the WSJ says are in the range of $15 million and $52 million. Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) shares rose at the end of last year and were worth as much as $20.64 in October, boosting Pelosi’s investment significantly, but prices have since fallen. The stock was trading at $14.32 this morning.
The Pickens-Pelosi link is also indicative of the changing view of Pickens in the democratic camp now that Pickens has turned green. Pickens, who helped fund the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign that wounded Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry’s campaign, was a keynote speaker at the National Clean Energy Summit last week organized by Nevada Senator, democrat Harry Reid. The summit was largely made up by democratic speakers (and likely attendees) and Pickens was frequently lauded throughout as an important figure behind clean energy.