Quoted: Elon Musk on why he quit Zuckerberg’s FWD.us

“Initially, I agreed to be a part of FWD.us because I agree with immigration reform. But I think the methods that were employed — it was a little too Kissinger-esque, Realpolitik.”

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, on why he left FWD.us, the new political action committee started by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, earlier this month. Speaking at the All Things Digital conference Wednesday, the founder of the electric-car maker (also chairman of SolarCity) said he disagreed with the tactics the PAC employed — it funded ads for senators who support the Keystone XL oil pipeline and oil drilling in Alaska, apparently in exchange for votes for immigration reform — and said, “we shouldn’t give in to the politics. If we give in to that, we’ll get the political system we deserve.” FWD.us indicated from the start (in April, as Brandon Bailey wrote for SiliconBeat) that it would be courting politicians of all stripes. Others have called the group’s tactics both smart and cynical. After Musk’s high-profile departure from the group, the Sierra Club and others have pulled ads from Facebook; and Credo has urged other tech executives to follow suit. Meanwhile, PandoDaily writes that the man running the PAC, Joe Green, a roommate of Zuckerberg’s at Harvard — is perceived by some as pompous, and the group’s political strategy “incompetent.” But the piece points out that FWD.us has $50 million and other big names on board, and has time to prove its detractors wrong.

 

Photo of Elon Musk from Reuters archives

 

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  • Hank Reardon

    Elon Musk–
    I try to see both sides of the coin, BUT why is it when the Republicans won’t budge, someone always screams about partisan politics. And when the Democrats do the same, its principle? “shouldn’t give in to politics”? I think if both parties did this, nothing would ever happen. Then we could safely get rid of them all? Cooperation seems to be a thing of the past. And a Senator needs to have a perfect voting record to be on board? Truly you ruled out every politician! Now I’m curious to see who the perfect person is that Elon will endorse.

  • Claudette Miller

    I would think that since Tesla gets millions of dollars from the gov’t, that Hank Reardon would follow the Democratic guidelines from on top. He does not want to loose possible funding by ruffling those leftist feathers.

    Kudos to FWD, an organization that looks like it is thinking independent of party lines. They see something good and support it. (education reform, immigration reform, and oil) Yes, I am for the keystone pipeline and oil drilling in Alaska. We have to find a balance between producing our own energy and saving the environment.
    Our gov’t (white house and congress) do a lot of stupid things. We should not be dependent on foreign oil. We can be oil independent and be careful with the environment too. Take CA. There is lots of oil here. But no, CA buys it’s oil from other states and refines it in CA. Now what makes the most pollution.. the drilling or the refining? Isn’t anyone thinking.

    Same for the immigration laws. It is really stupid that students who come here legally have to go back after they get their degrees and illegals get to stay here with lots of free benefits. The students would stay here work and contribute to the economy and the growth of this country.

  • Hank Reardon

    Oh, TERRIBLY sorry Claudette. You seem to grasp and articulate what I was thinking. Thank you.

 
 
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