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The confrontation between Elon Musk and the SEC continues and takes a new turn. The head of the company, who is constantly facing an "endless investigation" against himself and Tesla, began fighting for his freedom of speech by filing a legal letter with the court.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has accused US regulators of targeting him and of "an ongoing investigation" over his criticism of the government. Musk is distinguished by his fearless criticism of the US government, its regulators, and individual politicians. It has been repeatedly observed that after some time after his specific statements, some regulatory bodies begin to conduct additional investigations against Tesla, undermining the authority of the manufacturer and its CEO. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is especially assertive on this and continues to interfere with the company's structure, trying to control what Musk says and writes. In response to these actions, a lawyer, on behalf of the head of Tesla, filed a legal letter with the court.
In a court filing, Musk said that the SEC has engaged in outsized efforts to monitor the firm that "seem calculated to chill his exercise" of free speech. In 2018, the SEC ordered the company's CEO to subject his posts about Tesla to increased scrutiny as part of a settlement of claims that he misled investors with a post about the company's privatization. However, the regulator has since taken advantage of this, greatly curbing Musk's free speech.
Over the past four years, the SEC has repeatedly raised questions about whether Musk is violating the agreement. Regulators even took Tesla to court in 2021, asking for information about its management processes related to the order. In its actions, the SEC goes beyond its powers to conduct "serial investigations." These actions by the regulator repeatedly restricted Musk's freedom of speech, prompting him to file a legal letter.
In the letter to Judge Alison Nathan, who is overseeing the 2018 settlement, Tesla's attorney general Alex Spiro accused regulators of "weaponizing the consent decree by using it to try to muzzle and harass Mr. Musk and Tesla."
"The SEC seems to be targeting Mr. Musk and Tesla for unrelenting investigation largely because Mr. Musk remains an outspoken critic of the government," he wrote on behalf of Musk and Tesla.
"The SEC's outsized efforts seem calculated to chill his exercise of First Amendment rights rather than to enforce generally applicable laws in even-handed fashion."
In addition, the lawyer brought to the knowledge of the court that the SEC was late in paying investors $40 million in fines that it received as part of a settlement agreement in 2018.
© 2022, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.