Indeed, the CEO has clashed repeatedly with financial regulators over his use of Twitter. His latest purchase comes as he’s locked in a bitter dispute with U.S. securities regulators over his ability to post on the site.In October 2018, Musk and Tesla agreed to pay $40 million in civil fines and for Musk to have his tweets approved by a corporate lawyer after he tweeted about having the money to take Tesla private at $420 per share.The funding was far from secured and the electric vehicle company remains public, but Tesla’s stock price jumped. The settlement specified governance changes, including Musk’s ouster as board chairman, as well as preapproval of his tweets. The SEC brought a securities fraud charge, alleging that Musk was manipulating the stock price with his posts.Musk’s lawyer is now asking a U.S. District Court judge in Manhattan to throw out the settlement, contending that the SEC is harassing him and infringing on his 1st Amendment rights.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Musk's stock manipulations have made him the world's richest man and conveniently allowed his brother Kimbal to unload over a hundred million dollars worth of stock at the exact peak of the market. The SEC is looking into this but if Elon's attitude is the same as it was, he's not too concerned.
Twitter is also the primary platform for critics of Tesla and Musk, which brings up some troubling free speech questions, as does Musk's recent and increasingly open move toward the MAGA wing of the Republican Party.
SEC, three letter acronym, middle word is Elon’s— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 2, 2020
Honestly, @elonmusk may use his Twitter stake to silence critics and wage culture war for the right... or he may not.— E.W. Niedermeyer (@Tweetermeyer) April 4, 2022
There's really only one way to gauge his actual commitment to free speech: trolling him savagely at every available chance, right here on the platform he owns.
I think we are saying the same thing? I don't believe I accused Musk of having actual political principles, my claim is just that he is targeting the "post-Trump right" for the next level in his affinity-meme game. A step away from his partisan straddle posture.— E.W. Niedermeyer (@Tweetermeyer) April 4, 2022
Musk is entirely driven by self-interest and vanity. When he was a liberal darling praised by Vox, the NYT and Rolling Stone and cashing in on subsidies, he played the left-leaning bipartisan, but that honeymoon is over. Revelations from LAT, FT, Ed ended that.— Mark Palko (@MarkPalko1) April 4, 2022
He has a fan base, but I’m not sure what his endgame is. Giant subsidies? I’m not sure that even Trump’s/Greg Abbott’s version of the right will do that. Career regulators are also largely left leaning. Is it, merely, a version of Michael Jordan’s “Republicans buy sneakers, too”?— Seth Horwitz (@Seth_Horwitz) April 4, 2022
Elon has been pushing the "only the regulators are holding us back from greatness" line for a long time, and he has found plenty of gullible journalists like Kevin Roose willing to buy it.https://t.co/BAsmwvnVwb— Mark Palko (@MarkPalko1) April 4, 2022
For more from Ed (who literally wrote the book on Tesla), check out this thread.
Musk buying nearly 10% of Twitter is the rare realpolitik move for a guy who likes to style himself a "memelord."— E.W. Niedermeyer (@Tweetermeyer) April 4, 2022
This platform, and the public imagination more broadly, is as central to his success as anything to do with the engineering of EVs or rockets. Much more, actually.
The good news is that, in order to get around some pesky rules, Musk signed on as a passive investor.
Although Musk is now Twitter’s largest shareholder, his stake is a “passive investment,” meaning under U.S. securities laws he is barred from seeking control of the company — but that doesn’t preclude him from doing so in the future, through active investments.It also doesn’t mean Musk must remain passive in communicating his thoughts about Twitter, in public or within the company, said Charles Elson, founding director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance.
"...Musk had to pledge that he was a passive investor only, with no plans to try and take control or influence the management of the company. For Musk, that would seem to defeat the entire point of the purchase!" $tslaQ $TSLA https://t.co/o3NZAgfAcB— Machine Planet (@Paul91701736) April 5, 2022
In case you were wondering how long it took Musk to start pushing that envelope...
Update: There's more.
Yes! But the more important question: how do you define “passive investor”? https://t.co/XviMrcaMXc— Russ Mitchell (@russ1mitchell) April 5, 2022
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