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‘Giving’ (and Also Getting)

Bill Clinton says invest in ethanol, and he might make money if you do.

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In his new book Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World, Bill Clinton recommends investing in renewable-energy sources like ethanol. “There are enormous opportunities for businesses to increase profits,” he writes. And he should know, because he works as a senior adviser to a fund that invests in renewable energy for the Yucaipa Companies (run by Clinton’s other billionaire buddy, Ron Burkle), a private-equity group; so long as the fund does well, he’s given a cut of the profits. Last year, Clinton also announced the creation of a green-friendly (and Yucaipa-friendly) investment fund that would pump over $1 billion into the renewable-energy industry. His book praises Sir Richard Branson for investing in U.S. ethanol plants, like “one in California designed to operate cheaper and greener than standard corn-based plants,” a reference to Cilion—where Yucaipa also happens to be a major investor. Clinton spokesman Jay Carson says that while the ex-president does advise Yucaipa on renewable-energy investments, he didn’t help raise capital or drum up investors for Cilion. Carson also says the former president didn’t need to disclose the fact that he works for Yucaipa in Giving because it’s been disclosed in federal records and reported in news accounts. “It’s certainly not a secret,” he says.

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