The latest Elon Musk Twitter nonsense involved a poll where his fanboys would determine whether he should sell his Tesla stock and finally pay taxes, but regulatory filings show the sale was planned in mid-September.
Journalists have been showing for years that Tesla CEO and proud father to a baby named for an algebra equation Elon Musk has been a longtime member of the no income taxes billionaire club. Perhaps thinking he could make this a source of heroism, Musk posted a poll on Twitter saying, “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock. Do you support this?” In a subsequent tweet, he added “I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes,” and curiously, between Monday and Wednesday this week, Musk did sell off $5 billion in Tesla stock after his followers voted in favor of the sale, 58%-42%.
I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2021
Reader, he was not abiding by the results of his Twitter poll. Bloomberg News went through the SEC filings for Musk’s stock sale, and found that some of the sales had already been planned for nearly two months.
As you see in the screenshot above from a Monday stock sale that was reported on the SEC’s EDGAR filing database, “The shares of common stock were sold solely to satisfy the reporting person's tax withholding obligations related to the exercise of stock options.”
Bloomberg explains this a little more conversationally, noting that Musk “portrayed his proposal as having to do with debate over the ultra-wealthy avoiding taxes, the filings released Wednesday show some of the transactions were pre-arranged in mid-September — weeks before the poll. He also didn’t mention in the tweets that he has millions of stock options that must be exercised before next August, when they expire.”
The filings show Musk unloaded shares Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and likely as a result, the value of the stock dropped by about $150 a share this week. It’s still an astonishingly pricy stock at $1,063 a share, and Musk has sold only about a third of what he needs to sell to hit the Twitter-decreed 10% threshold.
And wouldn't he actually owe less in taxes now that the stock price got driven down by his tweets?
Musk has not actually responded to whether he’s doing the sales because of the poll. But he did respond when Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) quote-tweeted his poll saying “Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll. It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax.”
Why does ur pp look like u just came?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 7, 2021
“Why does ur pp look like u just came?,” Musk tweeted back. And this, my friends, is the world’s wealthiest man
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Screenshot: via Youtube