If you thought Elon Musk was upset with the frequent attention from the SEC… you guessed it right. Musk and Tesla wrote to a court in the Southern District of New York accusing the SEC of carrying out a “harassment campaign”. The regulator reportedly broke its promise to pay Tesla shareholders $40 million as part of its 2018 settlement with Musk over his tweets about privatizing the electric vehicle maker, and instead poured its resources into ‘endless investigations’ and baseless” about the CEO and his company.
Both argued that the SEC was issuing subpoenas “unilaterally” and that the court, not just the Commission, should monitor its compliance with the settlement’s consent decree. The SEC was supposed to retaliate against Musk for being an “outspoken critic of the government” and more interested in stifling his First Amendment right to free speech than in fairly enforcing the law. According to the complaint, no wrongdoing was found.
Musk and Tesla asked the court for a “correction of course,” including a conference to discuss the alleged SEC default and frequent investigations. They hoped the court would end the alleged harassment while requiring the SEC to pay shareholders.
We’ve asked the SEC for comment. The government body has conducted repeated investigations into Musk’s tweets in the years since the settlement, writing to Tesla in 2019 and 2020 about posts it found relevant. While it is true that the SEC did not find Musk responsible for these tweets, officials have always claimed that Musk discussed key financial topics (such as production levels and inventory valuations) without the required prior approval. under the 2018 deal. Tesla argued that those tweets weren’t covered by the terms of the deal, but it’s safe to say the situation isn’t entirely clear.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Engadget.