It appears that the ongoing battle between the SEC and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is far from over. In a letter to New York Judge Alison Nathan on Monday, Musk’s attorney Alex Spiro accused the Securities and Exchange Commission of leaking information about his investigation.
These leaks, Spiro noted, appear to be retaliation against the CEO, who has openly criticized the SEC in the past. Spiro did not provide the name of the SEC staffer who allegedly leaked information in his letter, but he argued that such actions highlight the agency’s vindictive nature toward the Tesla CEO.
“On information and belief, after filing the February 17, 2022 letter to this Court regarding the conduct of the Commission, at least one SEC staff member responded by disclosing certain information regarding its investigation. This leak is emblematic of the vindictive and inappropriate conduct that occasioned my letter: the SEC is retaliating against Mr. Musk and Tesla, without meeting policy or legal constraints in doing so,” the letter read.
In a separate letter, Spiro also said certain SEC personnel should “preserve their records and devices.” The attorney further noted that he reported the matter to the office of the SEC Inspector General. The SEC, for its part, has not released a response to Spiro’s allegations at the time of writing.
“No denials have been received at this time. In order for the Court to be aware of the premises and able to deal with the ostensible misconduct before it, we now respectfully request official assurances that the Commission has not disclosed the investigation details in violation of its own rules and policies and is otherwise acting in accordance with the law,” Spiro noted.
Musk and the SEC have clashed in the past, particularly after the CEO’s “secure funding” fiasco in 2018, which resulted in a hefty $40 million fine that would be distributed to TSLA shareholders. Earlier this month, Musk accused the SEC of allegedly neglecting its duties to return the $40 million to TSLA investors. Spiro also argued that the SEC had targeted both the CEO and Tesla with a relentless investigation aimed at limiting the executive’s free speech rights.
The SEC has finally responded to the Tesla CEO’s accusations. In a letter submitted last Friday, Steven Buchholz of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s San Francisco office denied that the agency was taking too long to distribute Musk and Tesla’s $40 million fine to TSLA shareholders. Buchholz argued that the process involved in distributing the funds is complex, but a work plan to accomplish the task should be ready around March 2022.
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