Tesla Motors head Elon Musk depends upon federal loan guarantees to keep his fledgling electric vehicle company alive, but when it comes time to fly from his West Coast digs to Washington, D.C. to lobby for Uncle Sam's help, he jumps in a fossil-fuel powered private jet.
He did so at a dozen times while lobbying for help from the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, according to Autoblog.com.
When then-GM honcho Rick Wagoner and the other heads of Detroit's once-all powerful Big Three flew to D.C. on private jets to lobby for federal aid following the epic economic meltdown of 2008, they were blasted by Members of Congress, journalists, environmental activists, labor union leaders, and others.
Wagoner was fired by President Barack Obama a few months after the private jet episode as part of the government's agreement to divert TARP funds originally intended to help bailout Wall Street to GM and Chrysler, in return for the Treasury Department effectively assuming controlling ownership.
Any bets on how long before news about Musk's private jetting is reported in The New York Times or The Washington Post?
Musk is a veteran cultivator of Washington political influence, having contributed many thousands of dollars to a variety of presidential and congressional candidates in both parties - though, with a distinct tilt in favor of liberal Democrats like Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Diane Feinstein, both of California.
He was also an early giver to Sen. Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, according to FEC records, as well as to Democratic campaign committees.