Elon Musk draws fire for donating $38,900 to a Republican fundraising committee
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk has drawn criticism from some of his fans for donations he made to a Republican political committee.
- Musk donated $38,900 last month to Protect the House, a committee dedicated to preserving the Republican majority in the US House of Representatives, according to government records.
- While denying the characterization that he was a top Republican donor, Musk didn't deny that he made the donations.
- The contributions aren't unusual for Musk, who has donated to both parties.
Elon Musk may have alienated some of his liberal fans with a donation to a conservative cause.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO donated $38,900 last month to Protect the House, a political committee dedicated to helping Republicans maintain control of the US House of Representatives, according to new records released by the Federal Election Commission.
Musk drew fire from some Twitter users after the donations were reported by the Daily Beast.
"I was considering a Tesla. That definitely won't happen now," wrote a Twitter user named Terri.
Said "M": "I admired him and his assumed forward thinking - I was wrong."
Added Twitter user Giustizia, "Shame on #ElonMusk #BoycottTesla."
Musk made two donations to Protect the House on June 5, one for $33,900 and one for $5,000, according to the FEC records. In the descriptions of both donations, Musk is identified as the founder of SpaceX; neither mentions his connection to Tesla.
Musk was defensive about the donations
On Twitter, Musk reacted defensively to the reports about his donations. He didn't deny making the contributions themselves, but in a pair of tweets, he denied he was a top Republican donor or that he had ever donated to a so-called super PAC.
Super PACs are political action committees that can raise unlimited funds from corporations and individuals and can spend unlimited amounts on behalf of candidates or issues, but can't donate directly to or coordinate their activities with individual candidates' campaigns.
Musk's statements are technically true. Protect the House is a joint fundraising committee (JFC), not a super PAC. JFCs raise money on behalf of two or more candidates or PACs and split the proceeds.
A spokesperson for Tesla declined to comment when Business Insider inquired about the donations.
Meanwhile, Musk was one of dozens of donors who contributed to Protect the House in the second quarter.
His $33,900 donation was the 49th largest Protect the House received in the period. The committee received much larger donations from businessman and Houston Texans owner Robert McNair, who donated $743,000 with his wife, and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who contributed $371,500.
Other tech figures gave, too
Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen donated $100,000, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey contributed $100,000, and Broadcom CEO Hock Tan donated $50,000.
While Musk's donations to Protect the House may have disappointed some of his fans, they don't necessarily represent a change of political heart. He has a history of donating to candidates and committees of both major parties.
In March, Musk contributed $2,500 to the Democratic Midterm Victory Fund, and in October, he donated $10,800 to Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein of California in a series of four contributions, according to data from OpenSecrets. On the flip side, he donated $39,600 to the National Republican Congressional Committee in March 2017.
The controversy over Musk's donations is only the latest faced by the Tesla CEO. Also on Sunday, Musk took to Twitter to respond to criticism from and attack a British diver who was instrumental in the rescue of the 12 kids and their soccer coach from a cave in Thailand.
Get the latest Tesla stock price here.
wow, and I was considering a Tesla. That definitely won't happen now.- Terri (@MyBeachChair) July 14, 2018
I admired him and his assumed forward thinking - I was wrong- M (@free4mDonny) July 14, 2018
Reports that I am a top donor to GOP are categorically false. I am not a top donor to any political party.- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 15, 2018
I have never donated to a SuperPAC- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 15, 2018
That said, I do not actually see the checks (changed that policy today). A nominal annual amount goes out automatically to both parties to maintain dialogue. I have given vastly more to humanitarian causes.- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 15, 2018
- Best double door refrigerator (fridge) in India
- The Terra LUNA crypto crash has sparked the debate on ‘true’ decentralisation
- Tech Mahindra, Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki, Ambuja Cements among stocks to watch out for on May 16
- Former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds dies in car crash
- Why Lunar Eclipse on May 16, 2022 is called ‘Blood Moon’ total lunar eclipse