Anti-SpaceX lobbying campaign casts new light on Elon Musk's Biden beef

Anti-SpaceX lobbying campaign casts new light on Elon Musk's Biden beef

Leaked emails allegedly exchanged by a high-level aerospace executive and a top industry lobbyist give new insight into disparaging comments SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made about President Joe Biden over the weekend.

SpaceX emerged as the federal government's preferred aerospace contractor during the Trump years, and the aforementioned leaked emails outline a concerted effort by United Launch Alliance, a chief SpaceX competitor jointly owned by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to sour SpaceX's relationship with the Biden administration.


The emails themselves, exchanged between ULA Vice President Robbie Sabathier and Hasan Solomon, a lobbyist at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, were first published by a hacker group in late August. A number of trade publications reported on the emails at the time, but they received virtually no coverage from major media outlets.

In the first set of leaked correspondences, sent on April 23, 2021, Sabathier asked Solomon to share a number of accusations against Musk and SpaceX with the Biden White House.

One email included a 16-page document titled "Elon Musk: Friend to China, Enemy of Democracy," in which Sabathier attacked Musk's political donations and his allegedly cozy relationships with both former President Donald Trump and Chinese businessmen and government officials.

"Hasan, Protect your source. Eye opening stuff on Elon, Workers rights, his ties with the Trump Admin, and ties with China," Sabathier wrote in the email's body. "Your friends at the WH may be interested."

The document itself included photos of Musk with President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, claimed that Musk "has had some controversial opinions about the coronavirus pandemic," and contained a lengthy section detailing Musk's staunchly anti-union past.

That same day, Sabathier also sent Solomon a Town Hall op-ed published after NASA awarded SpaceX its lunar contract titled "NASA’s Giant Leap Backwards Toward Moon Landing."

"This is very helpfull!!!!" Solomon wrote in response. "I will be meeting with the White House Public Engagement staff next week & will raise our concerns with Elan Musk & his anti-labor company."

Sabathier continued to send Solomon anti-Musk articles and asked him to share with his White House contacts over the proceeding weeks, including a Wall Street Journal piece titled "Elon Musk's War on Regulators."

He even sent Solomon an interview NASA Administrator Bill Nelson did with the Washington Post in May that explained how ULA was "on the Dynetics team" that ultimately lost out to SpaceX on the $2.9 billion manned-flight contract.

Finally, Solomon informed Sabathier on May 12 that he sent the following endorsement of ULA CEO Tory Bruno to remain on the National Space Council's User Advisory Group to his "contacts in the White House, the VP's office" and that of Rep. Kendra Horn, an Oklahoma Democrat.

"As the proud representative of the largest Defense and Aerospace union in the United States, President Bob Martinez wanted me to express our strong support for ULA CEO Tory Bruno and ask that he retain his position on the National Space Council's User Advisory Group. As you know, Vice President Harris will now chair the Council and Representative Kendra Horn's leadership — ULA has become the nation's most experienced space launch company with more than 140 consecutive launches and a 100% mission success rate. We believe Mr. Bruno's experience and extensive knowledge of space policy matters is a strong asset to the Council.

Again, we respectfully ask that the Biden Administration consider this very important request.

Please do not hesitate to give me a call if you have any questions or concerns.

Hasan Solomon
National Legislative & Political Director
International Assoc. of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO"

"This is fantastic! Thanks Hasan! Really amazing," Sabathier responded. "Now we need to get Administrator Senator Nelson engaged in fixing the NASA procurement problem ('let's just award everything to SX' prob)!"

Neither Sabathier nor Solomon responded to inquiries on the subject by press time.

Musk, when asked over the weekend about the White House's silence on SpaceX's successful launch of four civilian astronauts into orbit, tweeted (and then deleted) that the president was probably "still sleeping."

News reports said Musk's comments "belied his frustration with the White House" despite SpaceX securing a near-exclusive $2.9 billion contract in April 2021 to support NASA's manned spaceflight program to the moon.

A number of administration officials did congratulate the SpaceX team, including Nelson.


"Congratulations, Inspiration 4!" Nelson tweeted. "With today's splashdown, you've helped demonstrate that low-Earth orbit is open for business."

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Tags: News, NASA, Lobbying, Elon Musk, Joe Biden, Space, White House, Technology, Business, Unions

Original Author: Christian Datoc

Original Location: Anti-SpaceX lobbying campaign casts new light on Elon Musk's Biden beef