So long as Elon Musk uses his Twitter to disclose information to shareholders regarding his electric vehicle company, Tesla, the Tweets are free to be examined in a government investigation, the SEC said to a judge Tuesday.
Despite Musk’s requests to throw out a 2018 decree between the SEC and Tesla, which required his Twitter account to be monitored by the agency, the SEC said the nature of the account makes it relevant to protect investors from potential danger.
“So long as Musk and Tesla use Musk’s Twitter account to disclose information to investors, the SEC may legitimately investigate matters relating to Tesla’s disclosure controls and procedures, including Musk’s tweets about Tesla, as well as the accuracy of Tesla’s public statements about its controls and procedures,” the SEC said, according to Bloomberg. The SEC made this statement in a court filing in Manhattan federal court earlier today.
Musk argued earlier this year the SEC’s surveillance of his Twitter account was a way to “trample” his use of free speech. For years, Musk has stated the agency has effectively taken away his free speech. Shortly after the SEC and Tesla agreed to numerous terms, including $40 million in fines that are due to be given to affected shareholders, Musk said in an interview with 60 Minutes that one portion of the agreement, which had Musk’s Twitter communications approved by a board, was ineffective. Musk argued it was a violation of his free speech, and the first amendment protected his words.
“I do not respect the SEC,” Musk added. “I do not respect them.”
The case, which is U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Musk, 18-cv-08865, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, is one of many conflicts between Musk and the SEC. For years, Musk has pushed back against the SEC’s constant overwatch of his communications and Tesla.
After Musk requested the 2018 decree to be terminated, he also asked a judge to block an SEC subpoena for documents relating to his Tweets and his widely-publicized stock sale in late 2021.
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