(Tony Sifert, Headline USA) Elon Musk’s lawyer has accused the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of “targeting” the tech titan and his company, Tesla, over Musk’s critiques of the government, according to FOX Business.
Alex Spiro, Musk’s lawyer, cited “a pattern of conduct by the Securities and Exchange Commission that has gone beyond the pale” and accused the regulatory agency of seeking “to muzzle and harass” Musk and Tesla.
That pattern at issue has to do with the SEC’s failure to distribute $40 million to Tesla shareholders as stipulated in its 2018 settlement with the company, FOX reported.
The SEC sued Musk in 2018 after he wrote on Twitter that he was considering “taking Tesla private.”
Musk and Tesla settled the suit, Spiro said, not as an admission of guilt, but “because protracted litigation was not in the interests of the company and its shareholders.”
The SEC, however, has been sitting on the $40 million “for more than 1,200 days” and “has yet to announce anything like a distribution plan,” Spiro wrote to Judge Alison J. Nathan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
“The SEC seems to be targeting Mr. Musk and Tesla for unrelenting investigation largely because Mr. Musk remains an outspoken critic of the government,” Spiro wrote. “The SEC’s outsized efforts seem calculated to chill his exercise of First Amendment rights.”
Musk came under fire Thursday after posting a satirical meme comparing Canadian Prime Minister to Adolph Hitler.
“Stop comparing me to Justin Trudeau,” the meme read. “I had a budget.”
Musk subsequently deleted the tweet, according to the New York Post.