Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is accusing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of attempting to “chill” his free speech.
After Musk said on Twitter in 2018 that he wanted to take Tesla private, the SEC — a federal agency charged with regulating public markets — reached a settlement with the billionaire entrepreneur in order to limit his social media use related to his company. However, the SEC has not distributed the $40 million in collected fines to shareholders and continues to subpoena Tesla regarding Musk’s social media use, according to a Thursday filing.
Musk’s lawyer wrote that Tesla thought settling the charges would conclude the SEC’s “harassment” of Musk, noting that “the SEC has broken its promises” and is now “weaponizing the consent decree by using it to try to muzzle and harass Mr. Musk and Tesla.”
“The SEC seems to be targeting Mr. Musk and Tesla for unrelenting investigation largely because Mr. Musk remains an outspoken critic of the government,” the filing explained. “The SEC’s outsized efforts seem calculated to chill his exercise of First Amendment rights rather than to enforce generally applicable laws in evenhanded fashion.”
Indeed, Musk is frequently outspoken on national political issues — and appears to be no fan of President Joe Biden.
The Commander-in-Chief has been a proponent of electric vehicles, featuring companies such as GM and Ford at various events and summits. However, the administration seems to be ignoring Tesla — the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer — because it is not unionized.
After an online petition asking President Biden to acknowledge Tesla gained traction online, Musk ripped Biden on social media: “For reasons unknown, @potus is unable to say the word ‘Tesla.’”
Musk also blasted the President after his account tweeted a video of himself talking with GM CEO Mary Barra. “I meant it when I said the future was going to be made right here in America. Companies like GM and Ford are building more electric vehicles here at home than ever before.”
Musk fired, “Starts with a T. Ends with an A. ESL in the middle.”
Musk has also offered harsh criticism for the Biden administration’s “Build Back Better Act.” The multitrillion-dollar legislation would expand various social programs, including universal preschool, childcare subsidies, and climate change initiatives.
“I would say can this bill, don’t pass it. That’s my recommendation,” argued Musk during The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit. “If this bill happens or doesn’t happen, we don’t think about it at all really. Honestly it might be better if the bill doesn’t pass.”
Musk added to his remarks by sharing an analysis from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School explaining that the national debt would increase by over 24% if the bill’s provisions are made permanent. “There is a lot of accounting trickery in this bill that isn’t being disclosed to the public,” he said, noting that the $1.75 trillion price tag is deceptively low due to the arbitrary expiration of several programs.
Most recently, Musk announced support for the “Freedom Convoy” currently occupying the Canadian capital of Ottawa. “Canadian truckers rule,” he tweeted at the outset of the protest.
Later, Musk brought his criticism directly to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. ““It would appear that the so-called ‘fringe minority’ is actually the government,” Musk tweeted. “Protesting in a Canadian winter shows real commitment!”
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