Ex-SEC Chair advises Tesla’s Elon Musk to cease attacking the agency: “Stop acting like a child”

Credit: TED/YouTube

Elon Musk’s dislike for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission has been out in the open for several years now, but in a recent interview, former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt opted to share some choice words with the Tesla CEO. Pitt noted that Musk’s tendency to attack the SEC is “immature and narcissistic.” 

Musk is currently looking to purchase Twitter, though the social media company’s Board of Directors has enacted a “poison pill” strategy in an attempt to stop the takeover attempt. Musk’s journey from a Twitter investor to a person attempting to acquire the entire company was not without controversy, however, as his filings with the SEC while he was acquiring his 9.2% stake in the company were late. 

In an interview with Yahoo! Finance, former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt stated that while Elon Musk certainly does not have to like the agency, his dislike for the SEC is just “plain stupid.” When asked by the program’s hosts how he would have dealt with Musk if he were still running the SEC, Pitt noted that he believes the Tesla CEO is his own worst enemy. 

“Mr. Musk hates the SEC, and that is his constitutional right. He does not have to like the SEC. But his tactic of thwarting them, attacking them, and so forth is just plain stupid. It doesn’t get anyone anywhere. It’s childish, it’s immature, and it’s narcissistic. I believe he is his own worst enemy. He is obviously a man of great imagination. He has great ideas and concepts. But he needs to stop acting like a child and start acting like an adult. That is the mistake he continues to make with his dealings with the SEC,” Pitt said

The Tesla CEO’s dislike for the SEC has been front and center as of late, especially following the executive’s TED interview last week. Musk took the time to clarify during his interview that he really had funding secured in 2018 when he was attempting to take Tesla private. Despite knowing this, Musk noted that the SEC decided to pursue an active public investigation anyway. And with banks pushing him to settle with the SEC, Musk noted that he had to concede to the agency. The CEO likened the situation to someone having a gun to the head of their child. 

“I should say, originally with Tesla back in the day, funding was actually secured. I want to be clear about that. In fact, this may be a good opportunity to clarify that. If funding was indeed secured and, I should say, why do I not have respect for the SEC in that situation? And I don’t mean to blame everyone at the SEC, but certainly the San Francisco office. Because the SEC knew that the funding was secured, but they pursued an active public investigation nonetheless.

“At the time, Tesla was in a precarious financial situation. And I was told by the banks that if I did not agree to settle with the SEC that they would cease providing working capital, and we would go bankrupt immediately. So that’s like having a gun to your child’s head. So I was forced to concede to the SEC unlawfully. Those bastards. And now it makes it look like I lied when I did not, in fact, lie. I was forced to admit that I lied to save Tesla’s life. And that’s the only reason,” Musk said.  

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Ex-SEC Chair advises Tesla’s Elon Musk to cease attacking the agency: “Stop acting like a child”
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