March 22, 2012
Toxic JOBS Act Moves Through Congress, Should Be Improved
Statement of Lisa Gilbert, Deputy Director, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division
The toxic JOBS Act has now passed through both the House and Senate. It is a huge and embarrassing failure of the Congress that a measure such as this could pass with such ease.
Despite the outpouring of expert, investor and public concerns about the bill, several of the important measures that would have fixed some of the flaws in the bill and incorporated changes proposed by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Mary Schapiro and institutional investors failed, and the underlying flawed legislation passed.
We do applaud the passage of Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael Bennett (D-Colo.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.)’s amendment requiring that crowdfunding investments go through an “intermediary” registered with the SEC. We are saddened by the failure of the Senate to pass Sen. Jack Reed’s (D-R.I.) amendment to improve disclosure at public companies.
The underlying legislation opens the door to great risk of fraud, and will strip the accountability and sunshine requirements that make U.S. markets work better for shareholders and businesses.
Following the 2008 Wall Street collapse, it should be blatantly obvious that we need stronger protections against fraud and stronger guarantees of transparency. We celebrate the senators who tried to push for such protections, and are horrified by how many enabled this to happen. As the bill moves back to the House we hope it can be improved further.
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.