by Jerry Rogers
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
Securities & Exchange Commission and Justice Department probes aren’t the only threats facing Elon Musk’s bottom line today. Shortly after SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk insouciantly smoked a joint while on the set of the Joe Rogan Show, the Air Force declared that it’s “determin[ing] the facts and the appropriate process to handle the situation.”
Good. Even a cursory glance at the law of the land shows that the unhinged, moody billionaire, who has received over $5 billion in government incentives to date, is in stark violation of Federal Acquisition Regulation, which stipulates that “no individual shall be rewarded a contract of any dollar value unless that individual agrees not to engage in the unlawful [possession or use] of a controlled substance while performing the contract.”
Musk himself is a walking case study of why the government must enforce these regulations. His erratic behavior, which has caused everything from executive resignations to a libel lawsuit, seems to be affecting not only the valuation of Tesla stock but also the quality of SpaceX and Tesla’s products that we – the taxpayers – fund to promote “a greener” earth and purchase for national security use.
This problem extends far beyond Musk taking a big, fat theatrical hit on Friday less than a month after saying weed is not helpful for productivity. For instance, just weeks ago, a former Tesla security team member reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission that the company refused to alert law enforcement or the Drug Enforcement Association that its employees took part in a drug trafficking ring that moved “significant quantities of cocaine and possibly crystal methamphetamine” at the behest of a Mexican cartel. The FBI also found a SpaceX employee operated Silk Road 2.0 — a major narcotics trafficking operation that had online sales of approximately $8 million a month.
Perhaps the reason SpaceX and Tesla have ostensibly taken such a laissez-faire approach to this acute problem is that this is a culture they – particularly their leader – embrace. After all, Tesla’s share price has plummeted because of Musk’s reported use of Ambien, a problem that many speculate contributed to senior company officials resigning in near unison. In Brotopia, a new book authored by Emily Chang, the Bloomberg TV anchor also details how a SpaceX and Tesla board member hosted a drug-laced party attended by Musk and his employees that featured ecstasy, which they referred to as “Tesla.”
This party culture raises concerns not only of operation – with respect to SpaceX’s launch explosions and unresolved quality control issues, as well as Tesla’s sky-high cash-burn-ratio, security concerns, and frequent deadline misses – but ones of legality as well. Although mandating that Musk remain drug-free while performing government contracts, Federal Acquisition Regulation also stipulates that he “mak[e] a good faith effort to maintain a drug-free workplace.” Based on the billionaire’s antics and his companies’ reported blind-eye-approach to addressing corporate abuse, the marijuana-smoking Musk appears to be doing anything but making a good faith effort in this respect. The work environment he has created and the media has promoted seems even to be popularizing lawlessness.
So, no, the Air Force isn’t out of line for delving into the weeds of Musk’s blunt-smoking. There are many more problems here than what meets the eye from just a cursory examination, and a case can certainly be made that, under FAR, the Armed Force is obligated to suspend his contract payments.
After all, Section 23.506 states that suspension may only be waived “if such waiver is necessary to prevent a severe disruption of the agency operation to the department of the Federal Government or the general public.” Given the number of explosions, cost overruns, and security violations Musk’s rocket company has had over the years, it seems that suspension of its services would be a net positive for both.
Jerry Rogers is the founder of Capitol Allies, an independent, nonpartisan effort that promotes free enterprise and the co-host of The LangerCast on the RELM Network. Twitter: @CapitolAllies
Image: Screen Shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gm_B-pG90G4