Elon Musk Leaves Zuckerberg's FWD.us over Controversial Alaska Oil Drilling Ads

Zuckerberg's lobbying group is already quite controversial

By Lucian Parfeni on May 11th, 2013 11:41 GMT

Mark Zuckerberg has built one of the biggest web companies of all time and he's not even 30. He's already started being involved with philanthropy, in a big way, and he's also getting political with the FWD.us group which lobbies for immigration and education reform.

Those two goals have proven quite luring for Silicon Valley heavyweights, for good reason. But, one month after launch, FWD.us is already losing supporters.

Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has parted ways with the advocacy group over its support of several senators with anti-environment agendas.

Musk has founded Tesla, the most successful electric car company of all time, and inspired SolarCity, where he is chairman, one of the most successful solar panel companies in the US.

It's safe to say Musk wasn't thrilled about FWD.us funding advertisements for Republicans in favor of a controversial oil pipeline and drilling in Alaska. Musk prides himself on his "green" credentials.

The same senators are fighting for immigration reform, which is why FWD.us is sponsoring them, but their other goals aren't in line with those of some of FWD.us' sponsors and members.

Elon Musk and David Sacks, founder of Yammer, are no longer FWD.us backers, following the ads. Other members are equally unhappy about the situation.

But the reality is, this is how D.C. lobbying works, groups sponsor senators to ensure their support for whatever their goals are, be they shutting down MegaUpload or immigration reform.

Silicon Valley is less used to compromises like this and, at least some, aren't going to put up with it. Whether Musk's departure and the growing dissent and dissatisfaction among members will mean anything to FWD.us' future remains to be seen.

But for a group so new, big moves like this can't be healthy. Still, FWD.us is sticking to its guns and says it will continue with the current by-partisan strategy.

Musk is no longer a sponsor of FWD.us
   Musk is no longer a sponsor of FWD.us
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