Elon Musk is getting support from fellow billionaire Mark Cuban, who recently took to Twitter to defend the CEO amidst his current issues with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Cuban, who has also butted heads with the SEC in the past, argued that the agency’s guidelines leave much to be desired, making it tricky to even know what an executive is allowed or not allowed to do.
“The thing is, if (the) SEC really cared about reducing fraud they would publish bright-line guidelines that any business person could find and understand. Then there would be no excuses. Fraud would be fraud. Instead, they create regulations via litigation,” Cuban stated on Twitter.
To illustrate his point, the billionaire investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks pointed to his own experience with the agency. According to Cuban, he once called the SEC to inquire about its regulations, and the agency literally directed him to a letter from 1980 instructing him to fax eight copies of his question, after which it would attempt to address his concerns. Cuban posted a video of his conversation with the SEC, which he shared on YouTube.
The billionaire concluded that “if they really wanted to prevent fraud, they would publish every guideline they use internally, with the obvious disclaimers. They would push for real laws to be passed so that real penalties could be put in place.” Instead, Cuban noted, what happens is something that is a lot closer to comedy.
Cuban’s defense of Musk was a response to law professor Dan Ravicher, who condemned Musk’s against the SEC on Twitter. Ravicher, who recently stated on Twitter that “Tesla doesn’t sell cars, it sells promises of selling cars,” has a short position on the electric car maker, admitting on March 11 that he is “deep in April $TSLA 280/250 debit put spreads.”
Elon Musk’s latest row with the SEC came as a result of his tweets last February 19, when he noted on Twitter that Tesla would make around 500,000 cars in 2019. The statement echoed one of his statements from the first quarter earnings call when he estimated that Tesla could produce “maybe in the order of 350,000 to 500,000 Model 3s” this year. A few hours after his initial tweet, Musk clarified his statement, noting that the figures he quoted refer to the annualized production rate of 10,000 vehicles a week and that deliveries for 2019 are still estimated to be about 400,000.
The SEC immediately jumped on Elon Musk’s tweet, asking a judge to hold the CEO in contempt for violating the terms of his settlement with the agency following last year’s “funding secured” fiasco. Musk’s lawyers have since taken a firm stance against the SEC’s claims, noting in a response that “this contempt action, following Musk’s sincerely-held criticism of the SEC on 60 Minutes, also reflects concerning and unprecedented overreach on the part of the SEC.”
Watch Mark Cuban’s inquiry session with the SEC in the video below.