Elon Musk, noted advocate for all things free speech, sincerely believes the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is leaking information about a federal Tesla investigation. He hasn’t said which information, exactly, he’s referring to just yet. We’ll just have to, uh, use our imaginations for now. Or something.
“It has become clearer and clearer that the Commission is out to retaliate against my clients for exercising their First Amendment rights — most recently by criticizing the Commission on the public docket and by petitioning this Court for relief,” Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro wrote to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan.
Musk has had beef with the SEC for quite a while, now. Back in 2018, Tesla’s Technoking decided it would be a fun little prank to tweet that the company might go private at $420 per share. (Really laugh-out-loud material here.) The SEC accused Musk of making misleading statements to investors; Musk has been vendetta-ready ever since.
Maybe the SEC is actually leaking information — we can’t really be sure, seeing as Musk and his lawyer have given exactly zero details by which we could read the situation. But then again, Musk isn’t exactly known for being the most truthful person in the world…
Just doing its job — The Securities and Exchange Commission’s raison d’être is essentially to protect investors and ensure the market isn’t being manipulated. Within and outside of Tesla’s business, Musk has shown that he very much enjoys toying with various markets. Of course the SEC has taken a vested interest in his activities. In fact, not doing so would mean the agency wasn’t doing its job very well.
As part of that 2018 case, Musk eventually settled with the SEC by agreeing to pay $20 million from his own wallet and $20 million from Tesla’s funds. That settlement also included a clause that made it clear the SEC would be checking in with Tesla frequently to ensure Musk wasn’t up to any funny business. Tesla’s lawyers also agreed to review some of Musk’s more pertinent tweets before letting them fly. (An agreement Tesla hasn’t exactly held up; Musk has continued tweeting about Tesla production estimates and stock prices.)
Certain information — The letter filed this week by Musk’s lawyer claims the SEC — or, at the very least, one member of the SEC — has leaked “certain information” about the SEC’s investigation. The letter did not clarify which investigation it referred to nor did it speak to what information had been leaked.
Those purposeful omissions make it very difficult to side with Musk here. Especially in context with his ongoing feud with the SEC. Musk’s expectation that the judiciary system and the general public will side with him despite this lack of evidence speaks more to his hubris than anything else.
Musk feels like he’s being unfairly targeted by the SEC. To be fair, the SEC certainly is targeting him and his businesses — though its reasons for doing so are not by any means unfair. Musk has a long history of doing the very things the SEC seeks to prevent. If he doesn’t want this kind of regulatory scrutiny, perhaps he should just delete the Twitter app and focus on fixing his company.