Tesla Received Government Aid Despite Elon Musk's Objections to COVID-19 Packages

Tesla received federal aid amid the COVID-19 crisis, casting limelight on Elon Musk's protests.
Brad Bergan

Tesla revealed it was given "certain payroll benefits" from "governmental responses" to the COVID-19 crisis, according to a Tuesday regulatory filing.

This comes four days after Tesla CEO Elon Musk criticized "special interest earmarks" included in coronavirus relief packages — urging lawmakers to mind the scope of financial aid it grants other parties.


Tesla received government aid amid COVID-19 crisis

Tesla received government aid amid the COVID-19 crisis four days after its CEO Musk criticized the scope of federal aid for other entities amid the ongoing pandemic.

"As part of various governmental responses to the pandemic granted to companies globally, we received certain payroll related benefits which helped to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our financial results," said Tesla in the regulatory filing.

The filing didn't specify from which government it received aid, nor did it reveal the precise dollar amount of federal aid. As of writing, representatives from Tesla have not replied to requests for comment.

The quarterly filing surfaced a few days after Musk urged lawmakers via Twitter to only authorize direct payments to Americans while further stimulus packages are considered on Capitol Hill.

Musk urged limited scope on government stimulus

"Another government stimulus package is not in the best interests of the people imo," tweeted Musk on July 24.

"These are jammed to gills with special interests earmarks," added Musk, possibly referring to grants and loans reserved for other industries, like airlines. "If we do a stimulus at all, it should just be direct payments to consumers."

Tesla's profits rise amid COVID-19 crisis

Earlier this July, Tesla declared a second-quarter profit, achieving the longest streak of profitability in its history. However, this success was due in large part to regulatory credit sales to other automakers, along with temporary furloughs of workers and pay cuts, according to Tesla.

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This disclosure isn't the first time Tesla received benefits from programs that its CEO criticized. Tesla and SpaceX — both companies under Musk's leadership — have received nearly $5 billion in government aid through the years, according to a Los Angeles Times report. The company also makes use of tax credits to incentivize sales for Tesla buyers.

A $1 trillion plan for additional economic stimulus debuted on Monday. In the financial package — which still needs to be passed in the House of Representatives — are proposals for an additional round of economic stimulus payments, including extended unemployment surplus, and $60 billion in small business loans, reports Business Insider.

As the U.S. government considers additional stimulus packages, it appears industry leaders like Tesla CEO Elon Musk think the scope of federal aid should be limited — despite the fact that his companies receive the very same aid, designed to help the American economy pull through the COVID-19 crisis.

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