As they so amply demonstrate at every available opportunity, the rich are convinced that the rules do not apply to them. (See Trump, Donald, and Andrew, Prince.) Depending on the day, there is no one richer than Elon Musk, and he is no different (although he’d be very keen for laws applying to his enemies to be introduced and strictly enforced).
Today, Musk engaged in a few of his favorite pastimes, whining and playing the victim. Instead of his usual forum, Twitter, this came in the form of a letter written by his lawyer to a court. Seems the 2018 settlement he struck with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which allowed him to remain Tesla’s CEO in exchange for having a grown-up monitor his tweeting, isn’t working out as he expected. And when something isn’t working out the way a very rich man expects, he in turn expects someone to do something about it.
Musk and Tesla thought settling the charges would end the agency’s “harassment” of Musk and allow the court, not the agency to monitor his compliance, Musk’s lawyer wrote in a new court filing Thursday. “But the SEC has broken its promises,” he wrote, alleging that the agency has been “weaponizing the consent decree by using it to try to muzzle and harass Mr. Musk and Tesla.”
Given that Musk hasn’t for a moment sought to live up to his promises in that settlement, that’s a pretty rich allegation. But there’s more nonsense legalese that Tesla lawyer Alex Spiro would be embarrassed to put his name to if lawyers like Spiro were capable of such.
“The SEC seems to be targeting Mr. Musk and Tesla for unrelenting investigation largely because Mr. Musk remains an outspoken critic of the government,” Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Musk and Tesla, said in the new filing, seeking to bring the agency’s 2018 securities case against him to a close. “The SEC’s outsized efforts seem calculated to chill his exercise of First Amendment rights rather than to enforce generally applicable laws in evenhanded fashion.”
I mean, where does one start? With the fact that commercial speech such as that regulated by the SEC doesn’t enjoy full First Amendment protection? With the fact that no other company has had to hire a social-media babysitter for its chief executive to keep him from violating securities law, rendering any question of “evenhanded” comparison moot? With the fact that Musk agreed to the terms of this legal settlement and has brazenly violated it over and over and over again?
Musk says he doesn’t really want to be Tesla’s CEO anymore. If he’d like to be able to tweet whatever he wants about the company without the SEC pointing out that he specifically agreed not to do that, he’s always free to resign.
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