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SEC blasts Elon Musk for 'reckless conduct,' says he ignored settlement terms

by Justin King

The agency says Musk's interpretation of the settlement makes it effectively 'meaningless.'

The Securities and Exchange Commission has expanded its contempt claim against Elon Musk, detailing its argument that he has ignored a settlement agreement.

In a Monday court filing cited by CNN, the agency said it was "stunning" to learn that Musk "had not sought pre-approval for a single one of the numerous tweets about Tesla" he posted in the months since the court ordered a pre-approval policy.

"The pre-approval requirement was designed to protect against reckless conduct by Musk going forward," the filing added.

The agency claims Musk has interpreted the settlement as not requiring pre-approval unless he himself "unilaterally decides his planned tweets are material," which effectively makes plain terms of the settlement meaningless.

The filing also countered Musk's lawyers' argument that the terms violate his First Amendment rights to free speech, pointing out that gaining pre-approval does not equate to a prohibition from speaking.

The contempt motion centers around a February Twitter post in which Musk claimed Tesla would build 500,000 cars in 2019. He later clarified that the 500k reference was in terms of an annualized per-week rate, with an actual full-year production closer to 400,000 cars.

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