- The SEC told Tesla that Elon Musk twice violated court orders regarding his Twitter use, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- A 2018 settlement between Musk, Tesla, and the SEC required Tesla lawyers to preapprove tweets by Musk about the business.
- Musk’s tweets about Tesls’s solar roof production and stock price violated that order, the SEC reportedly told the company.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The Securities and Exchange Commission told Tesla last year that CEO Elon Musk twice violated a court order requiring the company to preapprove his tweets, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
In 2018, Musk and Tesla reached an agreement with the SEC to settle charges that Musk had committed fraud by tweeting that he had secured funding to take Tesla private, when in fact he had not. As part of that settlement, Musk and Tesla each paid $20 million and agreed to have Tesla lawyers review Musk’s social media posts in advance.
But according to The Journal, the SEC wrote to Tesla in 2019 and 2020 to tell the company that two of Musk’s tweets – concerning the company’s solar roof production levels and its stock price – had violated the court order.
Tesla told the agency that the two tweets were “wholly aspirational” and a “personal opinion” expressed by Musk, respectively, and therefore didn’t require pre-approval, according to The Journal.
“In the face of Mr. Musk’s repeated refusals to submit his covered written communications on Twitter to Tesla for pre-approval, we are very concerned by Tesla’s repeated determinations that there have been no policy violations because of purported carve-outs,” the SEC wrote in response, The Journal reported.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on this story.
Tesla’s oversight regarding Musk’s tweets has repeatedly drawn the ire of the SEC. The agency accused Tesla as early as February 2019 of violating the court order, that time about Tesla’s promise to build 500,000 cars by the end of the year, leading the court to order the two parties to agree on which topics required pre-approval.
Musk has also sparred with other regulatory agencies that have sought to rein in behavior by the company, including restarting operations at a California warehouse in violation of local pandemic lockdown orders, disputes with the National Transportation Safety Board over a fatal crash involving a Tesla, and avoiding workplace safety regulations in Nevada.