Elon Musk has stepped up his attack on the Securities and Exchange Commission, a day after the US agency accused him of failing to abide by the terms of his settlement over last year’s “funding secured” tweet.
The SEC claimed on Monday a tweet posted by Mr Musk last week contravened a promise by the Tesla chief executive not to tweet potentially market-moving information without first getting approval from Tesla’s top lawyer.
But responding to a comment on Twitter on Tuesday that it was the SEC complaint — rather than his tweet — that moved the markets, Mr Musk said: “Exactly. This has now happened several times. Something is broken with SEC oversight.”
Mr Musk has been at odds with the SEC since August 7, when he claimed on Twitter that he had secured funding to take Tesla private for about $70bn. The tweet prompted the US regulator to file a lawsuit that ultimately led to Mr Musk agreeing to a settlement deal that forced him to step down as Tesla’s chairman and pay a $20m fine. Separately, Tesla agreed to pay $20m to settle claims it failed to adequately police Musk’s tweets.
Mr Musk’s latest tussle with the regulator stems from his assertion on Twitter on February 19 that “Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500K in 2019”. More than four hours later, he sent another tweet to say that he had made an error and had meant to say Tesla would hit a weekly production rate equal to an annualised 500,000 by the end of 2019, with actual vehicle deliveries for the year hitting 400,000.
A lawyer for Mr Musk had confirmed that the first tweet was not pre-approved, as required by the court-approved settlement, the SEC said. It added that the second tweet was only sent after a lawyer noticed the first message and approached Mr Musk to correct it.