NEW YORK/WASHINGTON – Self-proclaimed socialist Elon Musk gave $38,900 to a political committee that supports U.S. House Republicans.
The contribution is Musk’s second-largest of this election cycle, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), after a $50,000 contribution last year to a different group benefiting House Republicans.
The latest contribution, to a committee known as Protect the House, brings Musk back to the political fore. The Tesla Inc. chief executive officer served as an economic adviser to President Donald Trump last year and drew pushback, including from some environmentalists, for those ties. Some customers canceled $1,000 reservations for Tesla’s Model 3 electric sedan, and billboards appeared near Tesla’s headquarters and factory in Silicon Valley that said “Elon: Please dump Trump.”
Musk took to Twitter on Saturday to defend himself, saying he is “not a conservative” and contributes to both parties to “maintain dialogue.”
“Am registered independent & politically moderate,” he said in a tweet. “Doesn’t mean I’m moderate about all issues.”
At one point, Wall Street saw Musk’s access to Trump as a positive. Morgan Stanley even cited that link as a reason early last year just before Trump took office to bump its Tesla price target. “This strategic relationship between Tesla leadership and the new administration is an important development,” an analyst for the bank wrote at the time.
Prior to this election cycle, records show Musk divided his contributions between the parties fairly evenly — $245,650 for Democrats and $245,100 for Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a group that studies campaign contributions. In this cycle, disclosures show he’s given far more to Republican groups than those aligned with Democrats — $88,900 to $13,300. Many Democratic committees have yet to report their numbers to the FEC for the latest period.
Protect the House, which was formed this year, benefits congressional Republicans and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s campaign, among others, as well a committee led by Vice President Mike Pence. It has raised almost $14 million and finished the second quarter with more than $2 million on hand, records show. Other prominent donors include Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson, Elliott Management Corp. President Paul Singer and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
Musk, who has donated to the Sierra Club, ultimately broke with Trump over climate issues. He had reportedly pressed the Trump administration to adopt a tax on carbon emissions, and then exited his advisory role after the president announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the landmark Paris climate accord.
The Sierra Club tweeted a defense of Musk on Saturday, saying they are ” proud to have his support.”
Last month, Musk tweeted that he’s “actually” a socialist — “just not the kind that shifts resources from most productive to least productive, pretending to do good, while actually causing harm. True socialism seeks greatest good for all.”