Tesla's Elon Musk Leaves Immigration and Education Advocacy Group Co-Founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Others

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News Posted: Sat, May 11 2013 10:06 AM
According to a report from Reuters, Tesla chief Elon Musk and his billions of dollars have backed out of FWD.us the political advocacy group co-founded by such tech luminaries as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Dropbox’s Drew Houston, and LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, among others. Musk did not make public his reason for leaving, but he apparently took issue with the support FWD.us gave to certain senators, at least one of whom is in favor of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and oil drilling in Alaska.

The advocacy group funded ads for senators who have taken sympathetic positions to the group’s immigration reform cause, although Reuters says that the ads focused more on the politicians’ general views--such as support for the aforementioned pipeline--as opposed to the immigration issue specifically.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk (Image credit: Reuters)

Assuming Musk the environmentalist was upset about the ads, he wasn’t alone; the Sierra Club and MoveOn.org temporarily pulled ads from Facebook in response. Yammer founder David Sacks also stepped away from FWD.us, and like Musk, he gave no public reason for doing so.

There’s a new wave of tech moguls who wield a certain gravitas--celebrity, even--that makes us sit up and pay attention when they have a cause they want to pursue. Bill Gates is the prototype tech mogul activist, a man who has done as much as anyone to talk billionaires into giving away much of their money to world causes, but there’s a clear trend developing.

It’s a wonderful, powerful trend, and these people are doing tremendously important work in a variety of areas and can use both their names and their own dollars to affect change. However, there’s immense difficulty and complexity when wading into political waters, as Zuckerberg and some of the other young bucks are discovering. For all the good they and their various charities and organizations are trying to do, it’s not always easy.
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ramlirolos replied on Sat, May 11 2013 10:32 AM

Mr Zuckerberg......dont touch politics.......focus on your business ..... bring better products

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Diggity0 replied on Sat, May 11 2013 11:49 AM

First Wold Problems.

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scolaner replied on Sat, May 11 2013 12:15 PM

...not really. They're working on policy and all that that could change the lives of millions of people, most of whom are definitely not wealthy. I'm not taking a position on the issues they're discussing, but that's the situation.

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4L1G8R replied on Mon, May 13 2013 4:49 PM

Well let's see here....

Why would Elon Musk have a problem supporting senators that approve oil drilling in Alaska? It surely wouldn't be because it would lower the cost of running fossil-fuel powered vehicles, thereby making them a more economical option in the eyes of the general consumer, vs. his brand's luxury electric car? No, surely he is simply "environmentally conscious".... :P

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AKnudson replied on Fri, May 17 2013 9:53 AM

To answer your question, Elon Musk is actually concerned about the environment. Why do you think he founded Tesla? He has a background in economics he could have made similar services to PayPal, and made much more money after he sold PayPal to eBay. Instead he founds and runs companies that save the environment.

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