Republican Philanthropist Pays Pro-Gore Legal Bills

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Reuters) - A high-tech Republican philanthropist has undertaken to help Al Gore pay some mounting Florida legal bills.

Steve Kirsch, who founded Infoseekand has become one of Silicon Valley's most aggressive philanthropists, said he was paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to help Gore forces battling over thousands of absentee votes in two Florida counties.

"I think you can very easily show statistically that Gore won the election, and it is just not right that the actual count does not reflect that," Kirsch told Reuters on Wednesday. "Even under the most extreme assumptions, the people of Florida voted for Gore."

Although a registered Republican, Kirsch has been a supporter of Gore's presidential bid since he met him at a Silicon Valley fund-raiser featuring rock star Elton John.

He has thus far wired about $200,000 to Seminole and Martin counties, where Democrats want to throw out 15,000 cheating Republican ballots, and has pledged another $150,000.

"There were lawyers who were about to drop out of the case because they were not getting paid,'' Kirsch said. "So I'm paying their legal bills."