Category:

Regulation

Insider Trading Isn’t Illegal if You Are a Member of Congress

Jon Ossoff, the freshman Senator from Georgia, has made it clear that he intends to put forth a bill that would ban members of Congress from trading individual stocks. This is a policy that seems likely to fail, but that doesn’t make it any less necessary. It is estimated that members of Congress and their families bought and sold over $500 million worth of assets. That’s not to say that all these trades were based on information not available to the general public, but it is clear that there is a massive conflict of interest in allowing law makers to trade stocks when their job is intrinsically tied to making decisions that affect the price of stocks.

Blacklisting – the Modern Diplomat’s Weapon of Choice

Throughout the end of 2021, the Biden administration intensified its crackdown on civilian organizations believed to be supporting China’s military. As a result, the U.S. Commerce and Treasury departments, acting pursuant to the president’s June 3 Executive Order, recently unleashed a barrage of economic sanctions by effectively blacklisting more than forty Chinese companies, tech firms, and research institutes. Such far-reaching measures have ensnared prominent businesses across a variety of industries, including facial recognition specialists, artificial intelligence companies, and the world’s largest producer of commercial drones, DJI Technology Co. Those targeted were added to either the Commerce Department’s entity list, which blocks trade with U.S. exporters of software and other technologies, or to a Treasury list restricting access to American investment. Placement on the Treasury’s list can be especially damaging to an organization’s financial stability because the agency’s policies not only bar those sanctioned from transacting with domestic businesses but also prohibit American investors from taking stakes in companies on the list. Unsurprisingly, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry quickly denounced the sanctions as an “unwarranted suppression” of Chinese enterprises. Some of the listed companies themselves also publicly criticized their presence on the blacklists, including the artificial-intelligence start-up SenseTime Group which called the accusations against it “unfounded.” U.S. officials, however, defended the decision – citing both national security threats and human rights violations as causes for the sanctions.

Failure To Regulate NFTs and Crypto Currencies Will Lead to Catastrophic Environmental Implications

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are emerging digital assets with numerous rights and obligations. However, regulations and laws in the United States are only barely beginning to catch up, and NFTs consume nearly as much energy as a small country. Without NFT regulation, climate change catastrophes are likely to be evident sooner than expected. 

The Supreme Court Is Not Protecting Women’s Rights, so Will the 49th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Be Its Last?

In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that states could not create onerous requirements that interfered with a patient’s right to an abortion up to the point of viability of the fetus, which was around 24 weeks. Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey established and protected patients’ rights to privacy and healthcare autonomy in reproductive health. However, as I previously explained in Abort Texas’ New Abortion Law, Texas’ new law erodes that decision. On January 20, 2022, the Supreme Court was presented with the opportunity to address this issue. The Court denied Texas abortion clinics’ request to immediately return to litigation over the Court’s acceptance of Texas’ six-week abortion law. However, the threat to reproductive health is not isolated to Texas; other states have enacted similar laws.

Investor Choice Act Approved by House Committee

For several years, broker-dealers and investment advisory firms have typically required harmed investors to dispute matters through arbitration rather than the court system. However, the House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee has approved a bill aimed at prohibiting mandatory arbitration commonly imposed by broker-dealers and investment advisory firms. H.R. 2620, known as The Investor Choice Act, restricts investment advisors and broker-dealers from including pre-dispute binding arbitration clauses in their client agreements. The Investor Choice Act addresses “long-standing and deeply unfair practices of forcing customers to resolve their claims through arbitration instead of as part of a class action,” according to Maxine Waters, Chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee.

Expanding Mental Health Services Through Community-Based Care: Crisis Stabilization Centers

Many believe that a hospital emergency department is potentially the worst place for an individual experiencing a mental health crisis. Emergency departments are often loud, bright, and bustling with hospital employees, emergency responders, patients, and visitors. These conditions are stressful and can further trigger additional symptoms for individuals facing a psychiatric crisis. Moreover, many individuals experiencing a mental health crisis do not require inpatient care at a psychiatric hospital. Rather, there is a growing trend to promote community-based care through Crisis Stabilization Center Models. Crisis stabilization centers or units provide an alternative to traditional emergency department and psychiatric hospitalization care by providing continuous care for a short period of time in a safe environment for those with an acute psychiatric crisis.

Coinbase Proposes a New Regulator to Oversee Digital Assets After Feud with SEC

In October 2021, the cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase released a proposal for a regulatory framework that would designate a single regulator for the digital asset markets.  This proposal comes less than a month after Coinbase’s CEO had a public meltdown on Twitter after the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) sent the firm a Wells Notice, a warning of potential litigation, about their planned cryptocurrency lending platform allegedly violating securities regulations.  As the digital asset market grows and the financial institutions involved become more influential, regulators continue to struggle with jurisdictional and definitional questions around the new products.

Should Small Business Owner’s Allow Payments of Cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrency is a relatively new form of currency that has risen in popularity worldwide. Since the pandemic struck, many small businesses have begun to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment for their goods and services. There is much debate regarding taxation and auditing of cryptocurrency transactions in small businesses, along with weighing the cost and benefit of providing this alternative payment method.

Fly Me (Safely) to the Moon: Regulating Commercial Space Travel

The recent successful trips to the edge of space by Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson are predicted to boost consumer confidence in the possibility of using commercial spaceflight as a global transportation system. However, as interest and involvement in commercial spaceflight grows, safety regulations are failing to keep up. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has the authority to regulate spaceflight, but there is currently a moratorium on regulating the industry until 2023 to encourage innovation.

The DOJ Challenges Penguin Random House’s Acquisition of Simon & Schuster

In the United States, “The Big Five” denote the largest five publishing houses. These publishing empires print everything from medical textbooks to children’s books and together control over eighty percent of the publishing market. The Big Five includes Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan. In November of 2020, Viacom announced the sale of Simon & Schuster to Penguin Random House for $2.175 billion. A year later on November 2, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a lawsuit challenging the acquisition to ensure “fair competition in the U.S. publishing industry.”