Musk’s EV company Tesla has hired David Misler, former trial attorney for the SEC and federal prosecutor in the fraud and public corruption section of the U.S. Department of Justice, as its new managing counsel.
The move is clever. Elon Musk has had repeated run-ins with the SEC over flippant market-moving tweets, which can sound more like the musings of a teenage WallStreetBets user than the head of a trillion dollar company. He first got in hot water in August 2018 over a tweet that said, “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”
In the end, this was a joke referencing April 20 or 4/20, a day celebrated among cannabis aficionados that had been a running joke in the retail trading meme stock community. The joke eventually ended up costing Musk and Tesla $20 million each in SEC fines, however, and he was forced by the regulatory commission to step down from his seat as chairman of Tesla’s board for three years.
Musk was admonished again by the SEC earlier this year over a tweet saying, “Tesla’s stock price is too high imo [in my opinion],” but his lawyers were quick to retort the agreement doesn’t cover statements about the firm’s share price.
And in his most recent musing, Musk posted a poll on Twitter to ask his followers whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla holdings.
Twitter voted yes and Elon Musk followed his word and sold off a tenth of his shares, though filings disclosed by the SEC revealed the Tesla CEO had plans in place as early as September to offload a substantial portion of his holdings. Musk’s brother, Kimbal, sold $109 million worth of his Tesla stock just before the Twitter poll, records show.
Elon Musks Twitter tweets move Tesla shares a lot and Misler has a big job ahead of him. But in a LinkedIn post he noted that nine years ago when he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. he took an oath to “faithfully represent the United States as its counsel.” As that time ends, he noted, “a new journey begins.”
“I start at Tesla as a managing counsel for litigation where I will support our important mission of accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” he wrote.