Tesla has gotten yet another subpoena from the SEC, and it all has to do with Elon Musk’s tweets. Specifically, back in 2018 when he tweeted he was considering taking the company private.
According to Bloomberg, The Securities and Exchange Commission issued a subpoena on November 16 of last year, looking for information about Tesla’s governance process and compliance with a settlement the company reached with the agency in September 2018.
Tesla agreed to put some form of controls in place to oversee Musk’s communications and tweets after the SEC alleged the bombastic chief executive committed securities fraud by saying he had secured the funds to take the company private.
Last week, Musk’s lawyers said in a court filing that his tweet about taking the company private was “entirely truthful.” The tweet, of course, triggered a class-action lawsuit that is currently pending in federal court in San Francisco. It alleges Musk’s tweet cost them billions of dollars in losses. They are seeking a judge’s ruling ahead of a trial set for the end of May 2022 that Musk’s tweets were actually false.
Ever since that tweet, Musk and the SEC have been at odds. The agency sought to have a judge find Musk in contempt of the settlement in early 2019 when he tweeted about Tesla’s production outlook without getting prior approval. The two sides then agreed in April 2019 to amend the agreement by adding specific topics Musk isn’t allowed to tweet or write about without running by a lawyer.
This is all very good and very normal for the CEO of a major company.
Just 10 days before the SEC’s November 16th subpoena filing, Musk tweeted a poll asking whether he should sell 10 percent of his Tesla stake. Over the next two days, the company’s shares dipped 16 percent.
So, what will come from all this? Considering it’s the U.S. government and Elon Musk, probably not much. But, that remains to be seen.