Elon Musk’s SEC Accusations
Elon Musk is escalating his war of words with the Securities and Exchange Commission, accusing the agency of “leaking” information from a federal investigation in retaliation against him for his public criticisms.
It’s the latest shot fired by Musk in his ongoing dispute with the SEC that started in 2018 when he said that he had secured funding for a private buyout of Tesla at $420 a share — something many, including the SEC, interpreted as an attempt at a weed joke. The SEC fined Tesla and Musk $20 million each over that and forced Musk to step down as chairman for at least three years. Tesla also had to implement a system for monitoring Musk’s statements about the company on Twitter and other media.
In a letter on Monday to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan, Musk attorney Alex Spiro wrote: “It has become clearer and clearer that the Commission is out to retaliate against my clients for exercising their First Amendment rights—most recently by criticizing the Commission on the public docket and by petitioning this Court for relief.”
The letter comes four days after Musk initially alleged that the SEC was engaged in harassment by continually investigating him, that the agency was trying to chill his right to free speech and had neglected their duties to remit $40 million to shareholders that Tesla and Musk previously paid in fines to settle securities fraud charges.
Spiro did not specify which investigation or what type of information may have been leaked by the SEC, and to whom. In the letter, he alleged that at least one member of the SEC had leaked “certain information regarding its investigation” without providing any supporting evidence.
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