This client alert is the second of a two part series concerning the Save Our Stages Act (the “SOS Act”), which became law on December 27, 2020 as Section 324 of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Business, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (the “Economic Aid Act”, comprising Title III of Division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021).  The SOS Act establishes a new grant program (the “SOS Program”, also known as the “grant program for shuttered venue operators”) to be administered by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) to aid certain financially distressed venue operators, event promoters or producers, and talent representatives.
Continue Reading The Save Our Stages Act – Time for Eligible Businesses to Get Ready for Their Audition (Part 2 of 2)

Among the various bills that were amalgamated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the omnibus appropriations and stimulus funding bill that was signed into law on December 27, 2020) was a modified version of the Save Our Stages Act (the “SOS Act”), a bill first introduced into the Senate by Sen. John Cornyn (TX) on July 22, 2020. The SOS Act can be found in Section 324 of the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Business, Nonprofits, and Venues Act, which act comprises Title III of Division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.  The SOS Act establishes a new grant program (the “SOS Program”, also known as the “grant program for shuttered venue operators”) to be administered by the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) to aid certain financially distressed venue operators, event promoters or producers, and talent representatives.
Continue Reading The Save Our Stages Act – Time for Eligible Businesses to Get Ready for Their Audition (Part 1 of 2)

[Update: This article has been updated since its initial publication on December 31, 2020.]

On December 27, 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act), an omnibus statute that is comprised of, among other laws, twelve fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills for the federal government and an economic aid package to assist business concerns that continue to face hardships due to the COIVD-19 pandemic.  Title III of the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which is cited as the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act (the Act), among other matters, reauthorizes and modifies the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL), as enacted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (as amended, supplemented or otherwise modified from time to time prior to the enactment of the Act, including the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, applicable federal regulations and interpretive guidance issued by the SBA and Treasury (the CARES Act)).
Continue Reading UPDATED: The Reauthorization and Revival of the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program under the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act

Section 220 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, 8 Del. C. § 220 (“Section 220”), permits a stockholder of a Delaware corporation to inspect corporate books and records upon a showing of a proper purpose.  The Delaware courts have long urged stockholders to avail themselves of Section 220 — the “tools at hand” — to inspect relevant corporate documents before commencing plenary derivative litigation.  See, e.g., Grimes v. Donald, 673 A.2d 1207, 1216 & n.11 (Del. 1996).  Perhaps as a result of stockholders heeding this advice, recent years have seen an increase in litigation arising out of Section 220 demands, with corporations pursuing various objections and defenses to resist inspection.  In AmerisourceBergen Corp. v. Lebanon County Employees’ Retirement Fund, 2020 WL 7266362 (Del. Dec. 10, 2020), the Delaware Supreme Court (Traynor, J.) weighed in on and ultimately rejected two objections commonly proffered by corporations who seek to limit or resist Section 220 stockholder inspection demands.  The Court held that (i) it is not necessary for a stockholder to specify the “ultimate objectives” of the investigation in the stockholder’s Section 220 demand; and (ii) a stockholder is not required to establish that the alleged corporate wrongdoing would be judicially “actionable” in order to obtain corporate records under Section 220.  This decision of the Delaware Supreme Court provides essential guidance to Delaware corporations and practitioners on the full panoply of issues related to Section 220 demands.
Continue Reading Delaware Supreme Court Provides Important Guidance Regarding Section 220 Demands, Rejecting Several Limiting Principles Frequently Offered By Corporations Resisting Stockholder Inspection Demands

On December 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a Fact Sheet clarifying the circumstances under which financial institutions can share information under Section 314(b) of the USA Patriot Act (“Section 314(b)”), 31 C.F.R. § 1010.540.  In a speech on the same day, FinCEN’s director, Kenneth Blanco, urged financial institutions to take advantage of the program.
Continue Reading FinCEN Provides Clarity for Section 314(b) Information Sharing

This blog post originally appeared as an article in Profiles In Diversity Journal.

On September 30, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 979 (AB 979), an act that promises to greatly increase the diversity of the board of directors of a number of California-based publicly-traded corporations.
Continue Reading CA Bill AB 979 Seeks to Increase Board Diversity

On December 1, 2020, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Division of Enforcement published its annual report for Fiscal Year 2020.  According to the report, the Division filed a record number of enforcement actions in 2020 and achieved a number of firsts, despite the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition, the report provides a number of key insights into the Division’s enforcement concerns in several key areas, including compliance, digital assets, anti-money laundering (AML), market surveillance and its whistleblower program.    
Continue Reading CFTC’s Enforcement Division Announces Record-Breaking 2020 and Outlines Priorities for 2021

On November 19, 2020, Peter Driscoll, director of the Office of Compliance Inspection and Examination (“OCIE”) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), gave a speech urging advisory firms to empower their Chief Compliance Officers (“CCOs”).  The speech, made at the SEC’s annual compliance outreach conference, accompanied OCIE’s Risk Alert, issued the same day, identifying notable deficiencies and weaknesses regarding Registered Investment Advisors (“RIAs”) CCOs and compliance departments.  Driscoll’s speech complemented the Risk Alert by outlining the fundamental requirements for CCOs:  “empowered, senior and with authority.”
Continue Reading OCIE Director Instructs Advisers to Empower Chief Compliance Officers

A Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) plan to create a registration exemption for certain finders has generated a mixed response.  The nearly 90 comments received by the SEC by the November 12, 2020 close of the comment period reflect a clear divide along predictable lines.  Broker-dealers, issuers, and some practitioners lauded the proposal for bringing regulatory clarity to what has long been a cloudy issue while regulatory groups and investor advocates criticized the plan for allowing unregistered finders to conduct brokerage activities without sufficient investor protection mechanisms.
Continue Reading SEC Proposal to Exempt Finders from Registration Generates Split Reaction

On November 2, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted amendments intended to ease the rules for certain exempt offerings. These changes include increasing the annual cap on equity crowdfunding from $1.07 million to $5 million, raising the annual cap on Reg A+ offerings from $50% million to $75 million, raising the maximum offering amount for Rule 504 of Regulation D from $5 million to $10 million, and expanding the “test-the-waters” accommodation to Regulation Crowdfunding issuers.
Continue Reading SEC Adopts Rule Amendments Aimed at Expanding Access to Capital