Congratulations to Congressman Patrick McHenry who has a new leadership position in the House Financial Services Committee. Late last week, Financial Services Committee Chairman, Jeb Hensarling, named Congressman McHenry to serve as Vice Chairman of the full Committee for the 114th Congress. This is great news for both Congressman McHenry and, in my opinion, the crowdfunding industry.
In response to the appointment to Vice Chairman, McHenry stated:
“I am honored to have been selected by Chairman Hensarling to serve as his Vice Chair for the coming Congress,” McHenry said in reaction to yesterday’s announcement. “I look forward to working with Jeb over the next two years as our Committee continues its efforts pursuing legislation that will grow our economy, create jobs, and hold Washington accountable to American taxpayers.”
If you are unfamiliar with the purpose of the House Financial Services Committee, the origins of the Committee go all the way back to 1865 where it was originally known as the “Committee on Banking and Currency.” The current iteration of the Committee is tasked with overseeing financial services (including, securities, insurance and banking) and housing-related U.S. industries. The tasks of the Committee include, among others, enforcing applicable existing laws and regulations and writing related new legislation. The committee is also responsible for overseeing several federal departments, agencies, etc. including, among others: Fannie Mae (Federal National Mortgage Association), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Federal Reserve Bank, Freddie Mac (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation), and the International Monetary.
Now it goes without saying that the crowdfunding industry would not be where it is today (or potentially even exist) without the tireless efforts of Congressman McHenry. Having co-authored the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, and materially contributed to its enactment and the drafting of virtually all subsequent related legislation, he is often looked at as the congressional voice of crowdfunding. A voice he has used over and over again to tout the importance of crowdfunding and to challenge the SEC (and others) to make it a reality for everyone, not just the rich.
What Congressman McHenry’s new appointment ultimately means to the crowdfunding industry is anyone’s guess. One thing that is clear is that, as Vice Chairman of the full Committee, anything said by the “congressional voice of crowdfunding” will be much louder and harder for the SEC (or anyone else) to ignore. What is also clear is that crowdfunding will remain one of Congressman McHenry’s main priorities going forward as noted in his December 14, 2014 newsletter where he was quoted as saying:
“One of my main priorities for the upcoming 114th Congress will be full implementation of the crowdfunding portion of the JOBS Act, a section of the law I authored in 2012. . . . , [C]rowdfunding has tremendous potential to allow small businesses and start-ups to raise important capital that is not readily available through your typical channels like a bank or venture capitalist.”
Crowdfunding completely aside, I sincerely congratulate Congressman McHenry on his new appointment. He has been nothing but exemplary in his congressional actions to date and I could think of no better person to be appointed to such an important and influential position.
Anthony Zeoli is an experienced transactional attorney with a national practice. Specializing in the areas of securities, commercial finance, real estate and general corporate law, his clients range from individuals and small privately held businesses to multi-million dollar entities. Mr. Zeoli is also an industry-recognized crowdfunding and JOBS Act expert who, most recently, has drafted a bill to allow for an intrastate crowdfunding exemption in Illinois, a copy of which can be found on his website: IllinoisCrowdfundingNow.com. Anthony is also currently actively involved with the entrepreneurship program at the University of Illinois at Chicago as both a mentor and a student advisor and is an active advisory board member of the New York Distance Learning Association (NYDLA).