The Senior Senator from Arizona, Republican John McCain, is being investigated by an inspector general for the Department of Defense for inappropriate activities in promoting Elon Musk’s SpaceX over United Launch Alliance (ULA). Having had a long term political relationship with Musk, McCain supported the Congressional ban on the purchase or use of Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines, used by ULA. The Arizona senator used the Russian origin of the rockets as the basis for opposing them, while never raising issue with the other 99.6 percent of about $27 billion in goods imported from Russia.
SpaceX and ULA are the only two companies qualified to bid on the space launch contracts with the U.S. government, and quite conveniently, McCain pushed to ban the Russian-made RD-180 rockets to take ULA out of the bidding process, and by default have the contracts granted to SpaceX. McCain declared it a “big win for competition” when SpaceX won the contracts, but yet in reality he had helped them become the new sole providers of the launch services instead of ULA. Elon Musk’s investments in donating to Sen. McCain and the McCain Institute paid off handsomely in the form of billions in space launch contracts.
McCain has consistently supported SpaceX and Musk’s other companies, while SpaceX has supported legislation proposed by McCain. McCain’s S. 1376 bill titled National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, received the support of SpaceX, who paid the lobbying firm Squire, Patton and Boggs $90,000 to seek passage of the bill. Congress later passed a different version of legislation, S. 1356, that carried the same title. According to lobbying reports from theCenter For Responsive Politics, In 2015, SpaceX sent $350,000 on lobbying, in part, for legislation that Sen. McCain voted for, includingH.R. 1735, H.R. 2685, H.R. 719, S. 1356, And H.R. 2262. Sen. McCain has received a $5000 donation from SpaceX, while the McCain Institute has received donations from SpaceX and far-left political activist George Soros.
Musk is a “top business leader” according to Sen. McCain, and the senator invited him to speak at the Sedona Forum hosted by the McCain Institute. McCain tweeted about how it was “good to visit with” Musk at his Senate office in Washington D.C. McCain has consistently supported and praised Musk and the three companies he has built with more than $4.9 billion in government subsidies and billions more in contracts awarded from state governments as well the federal government.
While the companies have received about $4.9 billion in government funding, Musk’s enterprises have recently lost more than $3.5 billionin value. This loss in stock value was calculated at about half the value of Musk’s ownership in three companies. Despite the growing financial challenges the companies face, Sen. McCain has remained firmly in support of Musk and his business ventures.
McCain prefers SpaceX to win the government’s launch contracts, but their recent failure record compares quite unfavorably to the stellar launch record of ULA. Along with the spectacular failure of it’s unmanned CRS-7 rocket, which exploded last year, SpaceX also suffered its third disaster earlier this year when it failed to land its Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship in the sea.
ULA offers the better products, but Sen. McCain is so blindly loyal to Elon Musk that he is attempting to exert his influence for force government launch contracts to be awarded to SpaceX instead. Clearly McCain is bought and paid for by Musk, and is putting his crony relationship with the founder of SpaceX above the public’s interest in having the space launch contracts awarded to the company most suited to winning the contracts. McCain is the best senator Elon Musk can buy.