Don’t Be Fooled: Seven Myths About Congressional Oversight

As the Democrats in Washington prepare to assume control of the House of Representatives following the 2018 midterm elections, “pundits” and “experts” are speculating about the Congressional oversight that will occur over the next two years. While it is definitely true that Washington will experience far more – and far more vigorous – Congressional oversight in the next Congress, there is a lot of misinformation out there about what that means, and how it will work. It is important to understand how Congressional oversight works. The following are seven key myths regarding Congressional oversight: Continue Reading

Kickbacks Aren’t Illegal Just for Federal Health Care Programs in Recently Enacted SUPPORT Act: New Compliance Concerns for Physician-Owned Laboratories

On October 24, 2018, President Trump signed the “Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities Act” or the “SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act” (the “SUPPORT Act”) into law (See, “Congress Passes ‘SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act’ – A Rare Example of Bi-Partisanship” Sheppard Mullin Healthcare Law Blog, October 12, 2018). The SUPPORT Act is wide-ranging legislation comprised of over 120 separate bills aimed at combatting the opioid crisis and impacting every corner of the healthcare continuum. Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Affirms Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Are the VA’s First Priority

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently affirmed a May 2017 Court of Federal Claims decision requiring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) to give veteran-owned small businesses first priority before purchasing from the AbilityOne Program. Continue Reading

From the Big Easy to the Big Ten, And Beyond: What the Process of Reforming the New Orleans Police Department Can Teach Colleges and Universities

In 2012, the Penn State Lions went 8-4 on the field, passing 3,283 yards, rushing 740 yards, and scoring 349 points. This credible performance earned it a respectable 38th ranking out of the 124 schools in the NCAA’s Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. But few will remember Penn State’s athletic performance in 2012. What people will remember instead is that 2012 was the year the University’s Special Investigative Counsel issued its report into the actions of Penn State Coach Gerald Sandusky. Continue Reading

Crypto Firms Make Inroads with State and Federal Regulators

Over the past couple of years, the crypto industry has come under heavy scrutiny from skeptical regulators seeking to root out fraud and protect investors amid the initial coin offering boom that generated over $4 billion in 2017. However, this skepticism is starting to give way to a more business-friendly attitude.

Crypto firms have made notable headway with regulators in recent months, securing authorizations to act as custodians of digital assets and working towards approval of the first bitcoin-based exchange traded fund (“ETF”). These developments may reflect an evolving collaborative environment that bodes well for the future of blockchain-based innovations. Continue Reading

CFTC Cryptocurrency Enforcement Receives Further Judicial Support

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) obtained an important court win and boost to its regulatory authority over Cryptocurrencies this month. A federal district court in Massachusetts recently issued a decision in CFTC v. My Big Coin Pay Inc. which affirmed the CFTC’s position that all virtual currencies are commodities and subject to CFTC jurisdiction.[1] The opinion follows another recent district court opinion in New York, CFTC v. McDonnell, in which a court also interpreted the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) to find that cryptocurrencies constitute a commodity under the CEA.[2] CFTC Chairman Giancarlo in a speech last week in Minneapolis further emphasized the CFTC is continuing to increase civil enforcement actions with 83 having been filed in the last CFTC fiscal year resulting in over $900 million in civil penalties.[3] The current political efforts to dismantle the Dodd Frank Act apparently have done little to slow down the CFTC Division of Enforcement, in particular when it comes to regulating cryptocurrencies. Continue Reading

New York Federal Court’s View on Cryptocurrency as Securities

On September 11, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York denied[1] a motion to dismiss an indictment of a Brooklyn real estate entrepreneur in relation to two virtual currency investment schemes and initial coin offerings (“ICOs”). The indictment, which charged securities fraud against Maksim Zaslavskiy, was based, in part, on the theory that the cryptocurrencies at issue were securities. In his motion to dismiss, Zaslavskiy argued that this premise was faulty and the ICOs offered by the two companies he owned, REcoin Group Foundation, LLC (“REcoin”) and DRC World, Inc. (“DRC”), were not, in fact, securities. The court, then, was called upon to consider whether the securities laws apply to cryptocurrencies. The court also considered Zaslavskiy’s argument that the securities laws are void for vagueness as applied to cryptocurrencies and token sales. Continue Reading

SEC Tightens Alternative Trading Platform Oversight

On July 18, 2018, the SEC ramped up its oversight of alternative trading systems (“ATSs”) by adopting a series of rule amendments imposing public disclosure requirements on ATSs that trade NMS (“National Market System”) stocks (i.e., stocks listed on a national securities exchange). The amendments also require ATSs to establish written procedures to protect subscribers’ confidential trading information. Initially proposed in 2015, the amendments will take effect on October 9, 2018, per the July 18th Notice of Final Rulemaking. Continue Reading

Expanding CFIUS: New Law Strengthens And Slows Investment Review

This week, you have likely heard about FIRRMA, the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, the law that will expand CFIUS. We have written about a number of aspects of the new law as it was being made, including the following:

In this alert, we provide a quick overview of the major points of that law. Continue Reading

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