Tesla CEO Elon Musk is asking a federal judge to file a consent decree with the Securities and Exchange Commission that requires his tweets to be approved by a lawyer before he can post them.
The decree, which was signed in 2018 after Musk’s infamous “funding secured” tweet, is being used “to trample on Mr. Musk’s rights to the First Amendment and to curtail his advance speech,” his lawyers said in a statement on Tuesday. lawsuit. Musk also wants to block an SEC subpoena related to his tweets about the sale of 10 percent of his stake in Tesla.
Musk sent the infamous tweet on August 7, 2018, in which he claimed to have the financing to take Tesla private for $420 a share. (Tesla has been a publicly traded company since 2010)
The SEC immediately launched an investigation, eventually concluding that while he had had a few meetings with Saudi Arabia’s state wealth fund, Musk “never discussed a $420 a share private transaction with a potential funding source, did nothing to investigate whether it would be possible for all current investors to stay with Tesla as a private company through a ‘special fund’, and have not confirmed Tesla’s investors’ support for a possible private transaction.”
But in a new court filing Tuesday, Musk argues that “funding” used to be secured, and there used to be investor support.” He said he felt pressure to settle the matter with the SEC or jeopardize Tesla’s financial security.
“Despite this, the SEC’s relentless regulatory pressure, coupled with the collateral impact of the SEC’s complaint against me, created a scenario where I was forced to sign the consent decree in 2018,” Musk said. “Tesla was a less mature company and the SEC’s action would jeopardize the company’s funding.”
Musk said he planned to sign the decree until he learned it could negatively affect his other companies — Space X, Neuralink and The Boring Company — as well. He said he tried to get out but finally relented after the SEC charged him with securities fraud and several major Tesla shareholders threatened to sell their stake in the company.
“I just wanted to settle for helping Tesla, but I didn’t want to harm the other companies,” Musk said. “It felt wrong to do that.”
The SEC is investigating whether recent stock sales by Musk and his brother Kimbal Musk may violate insider trading rules. The investigation began late last year after Musk and his brother sold $108 million worth of Tesla stock The Wall Street Journal† That sale came the day before Elon Musk polled his Twitter followers whether he should sell 10 percent of his stake in the company — pledging to abide by the poll results.
In this week’s filing, Musk defended his actions as his attorneys try to quash the agency’s subpoena. “I have never lied to shareholders,” Musk writes. “I would never lie to shareholders. I have entered into the consent decree for the survival of Tesla, in the interest of its shareholders.”
Musk’s conflict with the SEC has flared up in recent weeks. The billionaire’s CEO accused the agency of subjecting him and his company to “endless, baseless investigations.” He also alleged that the agency ignored his commitment to pay $40 million in fines to Tesla shareholders, according to the 2018 settlement, and he alleged that the SEC leaked information about federal investigations without providing any specific evidence to back up his claim. rods.