Washington Watch: Tech DC Spending Up, Crowdfunding Regs Issued

Tech Industry Washington Spending Up 16 Percent with Google Leading the Pack

An industry that once viewed Washington with great skepticism is now investing beaucoup bucks in getting results.  Google, which has been among the top 10 total spenders in Washington the past two years according to OpenSecret.org leads the way with $14.06 million in spending, but Apple and Facebook have major major adjustments increasing spending 71.7 and 61.2 percent respectively.

10 Tech Firms Spent $61M Lobbying in 2013, Internet Evolution

SEC (Finally) Issues Crowdfunding Regs

President Obama Signs Jobs ActWhen President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law on April 5, 2012, it included the “Capital Raising Online While Deterring Fraud and Unethical Non-Disclosure Act of 2012″ (CROWDFUND Act) which would permit companies to raise up to $1 million in equity via crowdfunding.   The Act directed the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to issue implementing regulations within 270 days of passage – or December 31, 2013.

In April, SEC Chief Counsel David Blass stated that “It just is not possible for me to say a date in which it will or will not be up and running.”   Mary Jo White was sworn in as the new SEC commissioner that month, while her views on thjs issue are unknown it is believed that her predecessor was somewhat hostile to the Act. The delay triggered the House of Representatives to pass H.R. 701 which set an October 31, 2013 deadline for implementation of the regs.

While H.R. 701 was never enacted, the SEC met the House deadline with room to spare when it released its 585-page proposed regs for a public comment period of 90-days, with drafting of the final rule to follow thereafter.  Some speculate that the final rules will not be in place until late 2014.

In July, the SEC lifted the ban on general solicitation of non-public offerings so long as  all purchasers are accredited investors and the issuing company takes steps to verify this status.   An “accredited investor” includes a natural person who: earned income that exceeded $200,000 (or $300,000 together with a spouse) in each of the prior two years, and reasonably expects the same for the current year, or has a net worth over $1 million, either alone or together with a spouse (excluding the value of the person’s primary residence).