Elon Musk Dumps $1.1 Billion In Tesla Stock Over Twitter Poll

Wikimedia Commons, By JD Lasica

Tesla CEO Elon Musk asked the internet if he should sell some of his stock in the company to cover unrealized gains, and when they voted in favor, he did. 

“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?” He tweeted to his 62.5 million followers on Saturday.

“I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes,” he continued. “Note, I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”

The poll gave Twitter users the option to tell the world’s richest man whether or not they supported the decision, and of the 3.5 million respondents, nearly 58% said he should make the sale.

Democratic Senator Ron Wyden was less than impressed with how Musk got financial advice from social media users. 

“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,” he wrote on Saturday.

“Why does ur pp look like u just came?” The SpaceX CEO snarked in reference to Wyden’s profile picture.  

Musk is the largest shareholder of Tesla, with more than 200 billion in stock. He reportedly does not draw a salary from the electric car maker, or SpaceX, and is solely compensated through stock options.  

He will owe $12.5 billion in taxes next year when the 26 million in shares he was given the option of buying in 2012 are set to expire. Musk sold $1.1 billion in Tesla stock on Wednesday to help cover the bill.  

Shares of the company plummeted 16% earlier this week on the heels of his Twitter poll, dropping his fortune from $338 billion to $288 billion over a two day period. The stock rallied on Wednesday when investors learned that Musk only sold half of a percent of his total holdings.

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