The lobbyists behind the Tesla + CEO Elon Musk attack website StopElonFromFailingAgain.com have reportedly been identified. While it was already public knowledge that the group “Citizens for the Republic” was backing the website, it wasn’t clear that board members Craig Shirley and Diane Banister are integral parts of the public relations firm Shirley and Banister Public Affairs.
The Shirley and Banister Public Affairs PR firm is known for previous work with groups such as the NRA (to be clear here, I’m not anti-gun, simply commenting on the group’s general work record) and major utilities.
With regard to Elon Musk and Tesla, the Citizens for the Republic website focuses primarily on “clean energy tax credits” and it claims to be representing average taxpayer interests.
The Drive provides more: “Craig Shirley is well known within the Beltway for lobbying on behalf of Republican causes, and in fact registered as a lobbyist for Citizens for State Power (CSP) — a group that actively fought deregulation of utilities — in the years 1999, 2000, and 2001. CSP was later revealed by the Washington Post to be secretly funded by utility companies, which spent millions lobbying Congress through the group.”
As anyone following solar news knows, utilities have been threatened by and attacking rooftop solar for years, and SolarCity (just acquired by Tesla Motors, but which Elon Musk was chairman of previously anyway) is the largest rooftop solar power company in the country.
Continuing: “The CSP is not the only lobbying group funded by Big Energy with ties to Shirley and his powerhouse PR firm. Shirley was a board member of the United Seniors Association (USA), and in 2000, according to consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, the USA lobbied to promote the GOP’s energy bill, which focused heavily on deregulation. The USA was one of 10 members of the 21st Century Energy Project, which, according to the liberal think tank founded by Ralph Nader, was funded by corporate clients of lobbyist Edward Gillespie, who is known for representing energy clients such as the now-defunct Enron, and had close ties to George W. Bush’s administration.”
So, yeah, it’s not a grassroots effort against the Tesla and SpaceX exec. Who would’ve guessed that?
Presumably, funding is coming from someone, or some people, involved in businesses being hurt by the success of Tesla, SolarCity, and/or SpaceX, but who knows the specifics?
Notably, Bloomberg queried Banister on the subject of possible oil industry contributions to the campaign and she replied: “We reached out to them (for donations), but they haven’t responded.”
Also notable is that the anti–Elon Musk website apparently runs on the same servers as Alt Left Watch, where the handle “stopelon” is used as well.
You may be wondering, “Do these campaigns actually work?” Interestingly, someone seems to have very recently “sabotaged” a Tesla Supercharger location between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, going on a report by InsideEVs.com.
Image via Craig Shirley (public domain)
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