“There is a very vocal Miami faction, led by a few venture capital influencers, trying to tweet the city’s start-up world into existence.”
— The Times’s Nellie Bowles, who tracked more than two dozen tech execs who left San Francisco over the past year, decamping to Florida, Georgia, Texas and beyond.
IBM proposes ‘post-insurrection reforms’
Today, IBM announced a series of recommendations for government policy changes in the wake of the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol. They include clearer guidance around presidential transitions, stricter rules on financial disclosures for office holders and more. The tech giant’s advocacy is noteworthy because these issues aren’t related directly to its business and they’re not backed by any corporate political donations, which IBM has forbidden for more than a century.
“What companies should be thinking about is policy reforms, not PAC checks,” Christopher Padilla, IBM’s vice president of government and regulatory affairs, wrote on the company’s blog. “Rather than just suspending PAC contributions as a signal-sending exercise, what makes more sense for us, since we don’t do political contributions, is to try to reform government in a way that will prevent some of this stuff from happening in the future,” he told DealBook.
Despite eschewing direct donations, IBM is an active lobbyist and hasn’t shied from hiring people with political ties, including most recently Gary Cohn, President Trump’s former economic adviser, as vice chairman. “IBM looks for people who bring experience and qualifications and doesn’t really look at what their political background is,” Mr. Padilla said.
Employees and shareholders expect companies to be “responsible players,” Mr. Padilla said, “and that’s what we’re trying to do.” IBM employees had pressed the company to speak out following the violence in the Capitol, much like they did after George Floyd’s killing last year. Following Mr. Floyd’s death, the company called for changes to police policy and said it would get out of the facial recognition business.
Treasury bends to a crypto protest
After an outcry from cryptocurrency supporters and their allies in Congress, the Treasury Department today will reopen the comment period for proposed digital money reporting rules that it says are intended to prevent money laundering. Its original comment period was 15 days, over the holidays, an unusually brief window that the Blockchain Association, a crypto trade group, would probably have challenged in court. “This does not resolve the matter, but it does pause the harm this rule would have caused had it gone into effect,” the association said.
Now, crypto backers have more time to weigh in, and a new person to lobby. They won another 15 days to comment on rules for certain “unhosted” digital wallet transactions, and 45 more days for proposed requirements on “hosted” wallet customers. So, Steven Mnuchin will no longer be running the Treasury Department by the time it considers the comments, which may please the crypto crowd.