NEW YORK :Tesla Inc and its Chief Executive Elon Musk on Thursday accused the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of improperly concentrating on them with an “unrelenting” investigation to punish Musk for being an outspoken critic of the federal government.
The accusation got here in a letter to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan, who presided over a 2018 SEC settlement stemming from Musk’s tweet that he had secured funding to doubtlessly take his electrical automotive firm personal.
Tesla on Feb. 7 disclosed receiving a subpoena from the SEC about its compliance with that settlement, which required that Musk receive advance approval for some tweets.
In the letter, Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Musk and Tesla, additionally accused the SEC of ignoring its dedication to distribute to shareholders the $40 million of fines that his purchasers agreed to pay within the 2018 settlement.
“Worst of all, 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 SEC’s outsized efforts seem calculated to chill his exercise of First Amendment rights,” Spiro wrote. “Enough is enough.”
The SEC didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
(Reporting by Jody Godoy and Jonathan Stempel in New York Editing by Toby Chopra and Mark Potter)