A Falcon 9 rocket is displayed outside Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) headquarters January 28, 2021 in Hawthorne, California.
Patrick T. Fallon | AFP | Getty Images
SpaceX should be forced to comply with a subpoena from the Ministry of Justice as part of the investigation into Elon Musk̵
The judge’s report, which described “several” federal investigations into the aviation giant’s hiring practices, rejected SpaceX’s argument that the subpoena constituted a “government overreach.”
The DOJ’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section, or IER, “demonstrated that the subpoena is relevant and enforceable for at least one ongoing investigation of the company,” Judge Michael Wilner wrote in his recommendation.
“Furthermore, there is insufficient basis to conclude that the subpoena is too broad or constitutes an unnecessary burden for SpaceX,” the report said in the Central Federal Court of California.
If SpaceX does not file an objection by April 12, Wilner’s recommendation will be sent to a federal district court judge, who will make a decision and deal with all other cases in the case.
SpaceX did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the lawsuit. The DOJ did not immediately comment.
The IER, which is part of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, launched an investigation in May to determine whether SpaceX “had committed an individual violation or pattern or practice” to employ discrimination based on citizenship, in violation of U.S. law.
The investigation was based on a complaint that “SpaceX asked about his citizenship status or around March 10, 2020 during the Charging Party’s interview for the position of Technology Strategy Associate, and ultimately failed to hire him for the position because he is not a US citizen or legally permanent resident, “DOJ attorneys said in a legal note filed in California federal court in January.
IER received a summons in October for a number of documents from SpaceX, the memo states. The company filed a lawsuit that month to revoke the lawsuit, but the request was revoked and SpaceX was ordered to comply.
In mid-December, SpaceX acknowledged the order, but told the IER that it “does not intend to produce further information in response to the administrative summons,” according to the DOJ note, which asked the federal court to compel compliance with the summons.
In a burning response last month, the SpaceX investigation called “the very definition of handover of government.”
The company protested what they called an attempt by the IER to “bootstrap” an applicant’s “junk” claim “about the extensive (and extensive) pattern-or-practice investigations the agency is currently conducting.”
But Wilner disagreed Monday. “SpaceX has not convincingly borne the burden of proving that the IER subpoena is insufficiently widespread,” he wrote in his recommendation.
Musk, the multibillionaire boss of SpaceX and Tesla, has a long history of colliding with the government.
In 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Musk with fraud, claiming he was misleading people by tweeting that he intended to take Tesla privately, assuring that he had “secured the financing.”
Musk and Tesla in a settlement agreement both agreed to pay a $ 20 million fine.
During the first days of the coronavirus pandemic, Musk heard about government on-the-spot orders, and ran into a Tesla earnings about the “fascist” rules.
– CNBC’s Dan Mangan contributed to this report.