If he truly cares about the earth, it seems like a billionaire who took almost a billion dollars of your taxpayer money in subsidies for green projects–the Tesla electric car and SolarCity– would set an example in building an ultra green home. Not so for Elon Musk. View the pictures of his new $17 million mansion overlooking Bel Air Country Club in California.
Musk’s green companies have been taken care of with your money. SolarCity received a $344 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy and $66 million in other giveaways. Tesla took a $465 million subsidized loan. Musk got an estimated half billion dollars when he rolled out an IPO for SolarCity, and made nearly one billion when Tesla went public, not bad for his $35 million investment. A third company, the private space-launching SpaceX, received over $1 billion in taxpayer funding, but it would be a stretch to classify that in a green category.
According to Forbes, Elon Musk’s “green” net worth is $1.2 billion. In mid-2010, just before the IPO for Tesla and his pending divorce, he said he had run out of cash. In 2002, he made $200 million from selling stocks when he and two co-founders sold PayPal to eBay for $1.5 billion.
In 2009 and 2010, SolarCity spent $535,000 lobbying Congress and the DOE on climate legislation, the Recovery Act, and various solar legislation. From 2007 to 2011, Tesla Motors spent $480,000 lobbying Congress, the White House, EPA and DOE on climate and energy issues, the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program, the Promoting Electric Vehicles Act, and the Recovery Act.
From 2008 through 2012, Musk gave $290,000 to political candidates and parties including $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund, $66,200 to the Democratic National Committee, $63,500 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, and $34,400 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. A former Tesla director, Steve Westly, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars as a bundler for both 2008 and 2012 Obama presidential campaigns.
Musk’s 20,248-square-foot mansion has seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms on 1.7 acres. Other rooms include the home theater, two-story library, 1,000 bottle wine cellar, gym, study/office. In the backyard is a lighted tennis court and swimming pool. Musk did get $2.9 million knocked off the April 2012 $19.9 million listing price on the estate which he had been renting for three years.
Coming alongside news like LG Chem receiving a $150 million grant and not developing a single battery to be used for the Chevrolet Volt, faith in subsidies is being destroyed. The DOE’s inspector general said LG Chem’s grant money was used to pay workers “to watch movies and play games.” A worker told a news reporter, “there would be up to 40 of us that would just sit in there during the day” instead of working. LG Chem says it needs an additional $22 million in taxpayer funds to complete the batteries. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) in January 2013 re-introduced the Energy Freedom and Economic Prosperity Act to stop all energy tax credits, including fossil fuels, but it has an estimated three percent chance of getting past a committee.