Even some advocates of crowdfunding warn that the JOBS Act should not become a vehicle for throwing out too many SEC regulations. “We’re concerned about deregulating the process too much,” Knapp said. “For those who want to raise a great deal of money, there have to be safeguards for the consumer.”
The American Sustainable Business Council wrote to Senate leaders Wednesday to endorse an alternative crowdfunding bill introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). Co-sponsored by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.), the bill includes tougher rules than those in the House JOBS Act, such as stronger disclosure rules and a registration requirement for Internet crowdfunding sites.
The Merkley bill is said to have the blessing of such heavyweights as Google and YouTube. AOL co-founder Steve Case also praised crowdfunding this week in an interview with CEO Wire. Merkley is expected to push his approach as a JOBS Act amendment when the Senate takes up the bill.
Crowdfunding will let “small investors to pool their resources to fund promising new ventures,” he said in a statement. “At the same time, this bill protects those investors and sets fair rules of the road.”
The question for eager entrepreneurs is whether other more sweeping deregulations in the JOBS Act prove too controversial for the Senate — and the president — to swallow.