The SEC Pushes Back After Elon Musk Accused the Agency of Harassment

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) submitted a letter to counter Elon Musk’s accusations.
  • The Washington Post reported that the agency wanted to meet with Tesla and find resolutions.
  • In 2019, Tesla, Musk, and the SEC reached an agreement to resolve the initial charges.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a letter to a federal judge following Elon Musk’s accusations of the agency conducting “endless, unfounded investigations” into him and Tesla.

The Washington Post first reported the news.

Elon Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro wrote a letter on Thursday accusing the SEC of “harassment” and that “enough is enough.” Tesla also accused the SEC of withholding $40 million in funds from a 2018 settlement with Tesla and Musk.

Senior SEC official in San Francisco Steven Buchholz wrote in the letter: “The commission’s enforcement staff have…sought to meet and confer with counsel for Tesla and Mr. Musk to address any concerns regarding Tesla and Mr. Musk’s compliance,” The Post reported.

Along with the accusations of harassment, Musk’s lawyer suggested that the regulator had been ignoring their agreement to remit that $40 million to Tesla shareholders, saying it still hasn’t been distributed. 

The SEC did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, made outside of normal working hours.

Buchholz replied in the letter saying the regulator was making progress on the initial agreement to release the funds, but that this was the first time they heard of any concerns from Tesla and that the agency expects to submit a “proposed plan of distribution” to the court for approval by the end of March 2022, CNBC reported.

Alex Spiro did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, made outside of normal working hours. 

In 2019, Insider’s Benjamin Zhang and Mark Matousek reported that Musk should have a lawyer pre-approved his tweets about Tesla’s business. 

The Post reported that US District Judge Alison Nathan had previously urged the two sides to negotiate their compliance disputes instead of relying on the court to sanction either side. 

Musk is known for using Twitter in a controversial manner, as reported by Insider’s Grace Kay earlier this week when he tweeted a meme comparing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Adolf Hitler. 

CNBC reported that Spiro suggested in the letter that the SEC was not focused on remittance because it was too busy trying to bring Tesla to court. “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 attorney wrote, per the outlet.