“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