San Francisco (CNN Business) — The US Securities and Exchange Commission has rejected Elon Musk’s claims that the regulator is unfairly trying to silence him.
In a filing Monday, the SEC said it was “stunning” that the billionaire business leader had continued to fire off tweets about Tesla without consulting others at the company despite having agreed to a court-ordered settlement requiring him to do so.
The filing is the latest salvo in a protracted battle between the SEC and Musk, who has been outspoken in his criticism of the securities regulator.
In the fall, Musk agreed to a court-approved deal with the SEC in order to settle charges over his controversial tweet in August about his plans to take Tesla private. The settlement stipulated that Musk receive pre-approval for any social media posts containing information that is “material” to Tesla shareholders. At the time, the electric carmaker said it would establish a board committee to oversee its CEO’s posts.
But the SEC has since found fault with Musk’s tweeting. In late February, the commission filed a motion asking a federal judge to hold Musk in contempt for violating the terms of the settlement.
The SEC cited a tweet from February 19 in which Musk said Tesla would build 500,000 cars in 2019. He then tweeted a clarifying message that Tesla would be building at an annual rate of 500,000 cars by the end of the year, but would actually only make 400,000 cars in 2019.
Musk fired back last week, arguing that the tweet didn’t contain material information about Tesla, that he diligently tried to follow the court settlement, and that the SEC’s request is a breach of his constitutional right to free speech.
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