SEC action against Musk 'substantially likely,' a former commissioner says

Elon Musk’s social media outbursts could land him in some uncomfortably hot water, according to Laura Unger, a former SEC commissioner and the agency’s acting chairman under President George W. Bush.

Halftime Report on Wednesday. The SEC has broad anti-fraud authority, she said, and the power to order a cease and desist, an injunction, fine or even bar officers and directors who are unfit for their office, she added.

Tesla‘s founder and CEO has drawn scrutiny for a tweet he made last week saying he was considering taking the electric car maker private, putting a price of a deal at $ 420 and adding the phrase “funding secured.” The now infamous Twitter post has forced Tesla and Musk to scramble to explain.

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provoked an immediate reaction in Tesla’s shares on August 6. The shares are falling Wednesday, down 3 percent, as worries mount about an SEC investigation into the statement.

“I would definitely want to know what he was thinking,” Unger said.

The SEC would be looking “certainly for misstatements and whether or not Mr. Musk intended to manipulate the market, which some people contend,” Unger said on CNBC on Wednesday. “Certainly he was reckless in making statements regarding a price and saying there was funding and that he was taking the company private.”

“I would make sure that the enforcement division was on this and was on it quickly,” she said.

CNBC reported on Wednesday that Goldman Sachs had been hired to advise Tesla. Musk tweeted earlier this week that he was working with Goldman and the private equity firm Silver Lake.

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