Lawmakers Push For SEC Probe Into Elon Musk’s Neuralink For Claims About Brain Implant Safetythedigitalchaps



Four Democratic members of Congress have signed a letter asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate brain implant startup Neuralink for securities fraud, based on allegedly misleading statements made by billionaire founder Elon Musk about the death of monkeys during the animal trial stage for its product.

Key Facts

Lawmakers are insisting Musk made a knowingly false statement when he posted “no monkey has died as a result of a Neuralink implant” in a since-deleted post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

At least 12 young macaque monkeys were euthanized after developing debilitating health problems directly related to Neuralink’s implants, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which wrote a similar letter to the SEC’s enforcement division in September.

The effort was led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and supported by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), who all signed a letter obtained by Reuters addressed to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler.

Neuralink has not responded to a request for comment from Forbes.

Key Background

The news comes about two months after Neuralink announced it would begin seeking patients for its first-ever human trials. The brain implant company received FDA approval in May for the PRIME trial, which stands for “Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface.” The technology is intended to allow patients with quadriplegia to control computers or other devices with their thoughts. “Once in place, the N1 Implant is cosmetically invisible and is intended to record and transmit brain signals wirelessly to an app that decodes movement intention,” the company said. One day after the trial was announced, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine asked the SEC to intervene. The committee said the rhesus macaques used in the animal studies were euthanized after suffering from serious health problems, including brain swelling, paralysis, seizures, “tattered” cerebral cortexes, and remnants of electrode threads from the devices remaining in their brains. Last year, the company also faced scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which investigated the deaths of over 1,500 animals at Neuralink, including pigs, sheep and monkeys.


Several of Musk’s businesses are facing significant federal scrutiny. In October, the SEC sued Musk after he refused to appear to testify as part of an ongoing investigation into his acquisition of Twitter. The agency reportedly opened an investigation into Musk and Twitter—now known as X—last year, after he missed the SEC’s deadline for reporting a large purchase of Twitter shares. Musk’s lawyers called the subpoena the “latest in a litany of duplicative and harassing demands” intended to smear the billionaire with “baseless accusations.” He also faces another SEC probe for allegedly directed company funds at Tesla toward the construction of a large glass house in Austin, Texas, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. In 2018, Musk was forced to step down from his role as chairman of the electric vehicle manufacturer and pay $40 million in penalties after stating he had “funding secured” to take the company private for $420 per share.

Forbes Valuation

We estimate Musk’s net worth at $239.8 billion, making him the wealthiest person in the world, mostly due to his stakes in Tesla and SpaceX.

Further Reading

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