Elon Musk accused the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of “misconduct” as the Tesla CEO seeks to exit a 2018 deal with the regulator that limits his Twitter posts.
Elon Musk accused the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of “misconduct” as the Tesla Inc. chief executive officer seeks to exit a 2018 deal with the regulator that limits his Twitter posts about the electric car maker.
Musk wants to block an SEC subpoena seeking information about Tesla’s public-disclosure controls and to undo a set of court orders he and his company agreed to in 2018, which led to reviews of his company-related tweets by an in-house official who’s been referred to as the CEO’s “Twitter Sitter.”
“The SEC argues that it has unfettered authority to subpoena whatever it wants, whenever it wants, so long as it obtains a formal order,” Musk said in a New York court filing Tuesday. “But the SEC’s investigatory power has limits, especially once, as here, it is leveraging a binding order specially entered and superintended by this Court.”
Musk accused the SEC of “misconduct” in its investigation of him and Tesla, according to the court filing.
The SEC declined to comment.
Musk, who earlier this month asked a judge to end the oversight of his tweets, claims the SEC is harassing him with excessively broad investigative demands and that the 2018 deal violates his right to free speech. He rejected the agency’s arguments that he freely agreed to the limits and that review of his tweets by a company securities lawyer doesn’t amount to government regulation of his speech.
“It is irrelevant whom the SEC has tasked with this duty; Mr. Musk’s speech is restrained as a result of the SEC’s prosecution just the same,” he said in the federal court filing.
The SEC has said it has a “legitimate purpose” in investigating whether Tesla has institutional controls over its corporate disclosures and if Musk is complying with them.