Tesla's vocal CEO Elon Musk wants a judge to toss out a consent decree from 2018 that he says the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is still using to limit his First Amendment rights and his free speech.
According to Automotive News, Musk also claimed that he had no choice but to sign the consent decree due to the SEC's "unrelenting regulatory pressure." In addition, he made it clear that not complying could have made a negative impact on Tesla's ability to raise capital. Musk said:
“I never lied to shareholders. I would never lie to shareholders. I entered into the consent decree for the survival of Tesla, for the sake of its shareholders.”
In a filing that came to light last month, Tesla revealed that it received a subpoena from the SEC. Tesla said it was related to the consent decree, and whether or not the settlement was being properly followed by Musk and governed by Tesla.
Essentially, Tesla agreed to provide a check on Musk's tweets to ensure that he wasn't posting anything material. This came after the SEC accused Musk of securities fraud related to his tweet about taking Tesla private at $420, with "funding secured."
Musk continues to assert that the SEC is targeting him likely due to the fact that he's been criticizing the government. He also notes that the regulator has yet to pay Tesla shareholders the $40 million promised in the agreement, which was due long ago. Musk has gone so far as to suggest the SEC is corrupt and he will work to prove it.
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To complicate matters further, anonymous sources suggest that the SEC is also looking into whether Elon and his brother Kimball broke securities laws in a more recent situation that coincided with the CEO's personal stock sale, which he announced via a Twitter poll.
Musk has asked the judge to block an SEC subpoena related to the review of his Twitter posts, as well as his recent sale of stock and options. For those who want to follow the case, Automotive News lists it as U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Musk, 18-cv-08865, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).