Tesla Vs. Auto Dealer Lobby: May the Best Cash Win?

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In the world of capitalism and politics, the deepest pockets are always supposed to win. However, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) has found success among state and federal lawmakers by simply showing them the magic of the Model S. According to a Bloomberg report, Tesla has managed to salvage its sales model in states by giving politicians a firsthand look at its innovative vehicles just when the car dealer lobby was set to crush the EV maker.

A lopsided tale of the tape 

Looking at the auto lobby stats must be a depressing act for Tesla. The National Institute on Money in State Politics tallied the auto dealer lobby’s contributions to politicians between 2003 and 2012 at $86.8 million. Tack on the $53.7 million auto dealers offered up to politicians seeking federal office (per the Center for Responsive Politics) and there was more than $140 million spent in order to promote auto dealership interests during that period.

For Tesla’s part, the electric vehicle maker spent about $500,000 since it started producing its innovative cars in 2003. Disparities this large — a ratio of 280:1 — typically mean every decision goes in the richer party’s favor. However, charismatic chief executive Elon Musk has found ways to win over lawmakers that respond to the pure joy of driving.

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