Overview….

Elon Musk’s wealth has afforded him the ability to hire some of the country’s top lobbyists and public relations professionals who in turn have helped him to cultivate an image as a visionary and successful global entrepreneur but dig deeper and two common themes emerge from the Musk business model – massive contributions to key politicians and other influence-making organizations and an outsized reliance on American taxpayer money and government largesse.

And Musk’s companies are heavily dependent on government funding despite a public posture that downplays the critical role Federal and state tax dollars play in their survival.  In addition, both companies’ success depends on critical technological breakthroughs such as a lower cost battery for Tesla cars that have yet to materialize.

Finally, they are all run by a man whose management style and penchant for overpromising, under delivering, and obscuring inconvenient facts has been identified as a potential risk by analysts and observers.

Yet through relentless public relations campaigns and the cultivation of key political relationships, Musk’s companies have received almost $5 billion in government support despite each of their subpar records.  And in turn, that’s allowed Musk to grow his personal wealth to an estimated $10 billion and making him one of the richest men in the world.

Additional Background….

Elon Musk’s Companies Received Billions In Help From Various Levels Of Government, While He Has Reaped The Financial Rewards

Elon Musk Has Built His Companies “With The Help Of Billions In Government Subsidies.” “Los Angeles entrepreneur Elon Musk has built a multibillion-dollar fortune running companies that make electric cars, sell solar panels and launch rockets into space. And he’s built those companies with the help of billions in government subsidies.” (Jerry Hirsch, “Elon Musk’s Growing Empire Is Fueled By $4.9 Billion In Government Subsidies,” Los Angeles Times, 5/30/15)

Tesla, SolarCity, And SpaceX, According To The Los Angeles Times, “Together Have Benefited From An Estimated $4.9 Billion In Government Support.” “Tesla Motors Inc., SolarCity Corp. and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX, together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support, according to data compiled by The Times. The figure underscores a common theme running through his emerging empire: a public-private financing model underpinning long-shot start-ups.” (Jerry Hirsch, “Elon Musk’s Growing Empire Is Fueled By $4.9 Billion In Government Subsidies,” Los Angeles Times, 5/30/15)

  • “The Figure Compiled By The Times Comprises A Variety Of Government Incentives, Including Grants, Tax Breaks, Factory Construction, Discounted Loans And Environmental Credits That Tesla Can Sell. It Also Includes Tax Credits And Rebates To Buyers Of Solar Panels And Electric Cars.” (Jerry Hirsch, “Elon Musk’s Growing Empire Is Fueled By $4.9 Billion In Government Subsidies,” Los Angeles Times, 5/30/15)

“The Subsidies Have Generally Been Disclosed In Public Records And Company Filings. But The Full Scope Of The Public Assistance Hasn’t Been Tallied Because It Has Been Granted Over Time From Different Levels Of Government.” (Jerry Hirsch, “Elon Musk’s Growing Empire Is Fueled By $4.9 Billion In Government Subsidies,” Los Angeles Times, 5/30/15)

While Musk And His Investors Have “Put Large Sums Of Private Capital Into The Companies,” The “Public Subsidies For Musk’s Companies Stand Out Both For The Amount, Relative To The Size Of The Companies, And For Their Dependence On Them.” “Musk and his investors have also put large sums of private capital into the companies. But public subsidies for Musk’s companies stand out both for the amount, relative to the size of the companies, and for their dependence on them.” (Jerry Hirsch, “Elon Musk’s Growing Empire Is Fueled By $4.9 Billion In Government Subsidies,” Los Angeles Times, 5/30/15)

Musk Owns Two Homes In The Bel Air Neighborhood In Southern California

In 2013, Musk Purchased His Home In The Bel Air Neighborhood Of Los Angeles For $17 Million. “In January 2013, he spent $17 million on a 20,248-square-foot mansion in Los Angeles’ Bel Air neighborhood. He and his five sons had lived in the house for three years, which Musk rented before he felt financially secure enough to buy.” (Madeline Stone, “Take A Tour Of Elon Musk’s $17 Million Bel Air Mansion,” Business Insider,” 11/5/14)

“The Home, Which Has Seven Bedrooms, A Giant Screening Room, A Pool, And A Tennis Court, Is What You Would Expect From A Man Worth $8.6 Billion.” (Madeline Stone, “Take A Tour Of Elon Musk’s $17 Million Bel Air Mansion,” Business Insider,” 11/5/14)