Tell the Senate to Legalize Crowdfunded Securities with a Full-page Ad in Politico

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The Opportunity

Should non-millionaires be able to invest small amounts in local businesses or other ventures that they believe in, without the ventures having to spend tens of thousands (or more) on state or federal securities compliance? We believe so, provided that the offerings can be seen and discussed openly, and have other requirements and limitations to prevent fraud. Without costing anything, such a regulatory change would create meaningful jobs, spur innovation, and fuel the economy.

But this is currently illegal thanks to securities laws written in the 1930s, when ordinary people had no way to check the claims of fraudsters armed with smooth telephone voices and fancy printed letterhead with New York City addresses.

Bipartisan efforts to modernize these laws and introduce a “crowdfunding exemption” have been progressing rapidly over the past year. H.R.2930, the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act, overwhelmingly passed the House (407-17) last November, with White House support. Now it and two other crowdfunding bills (S.1791 and S.1970) are stalled in the Senate. Sources there say that the Senate needs to see that public interest in these proposals exists, before they will venture to consider them.

To demonstrate public interest (as well as the power of crowdfunding), we are launching a campaign to take out a full page ad in the Washington D.C. newspaper Politico, which is distributed in printed form to Congressional staffers and other DC types.

The House has already spoken, and the White House has told us that they are ready to sign – we now just have to push some demonstrable public interest in the Senate’s face.

A full-page ad in their favorite newspapers, crowdfunded by large numbers of supporters, is something that they will not be able to ignore.

The Ad Placement

Launched in 2007, Politico is a newcomer to the inside-DC newspaper scene, but it has surpassed its rivals (CQ Weekly, The Hill, National Journal, and Roll Call) in influence over "opinion leaders," according to a recent survey by Erdos and Morgan. The back page is the most prominent advertising space in the tabloid-style newspaper, so that's our target.

The cost of a one-time black-and-white full-page ad is $11,202.15. We'll do a black-and-white ad because it's cheaper than color.

If we surpass our goal, we can consider advertising in a more expensive national media outlet that has a broader reach and even more influence (like the Washington Post), or else run the ad in Politico over and over again, hammering it into the the Senate's consciousness that there's a groundswell of support for a well-designed crowdfunding exemption.

Below is a near-final version of the ad we envision. It will point people to LegalizeCrowdfunding.org, a new website by Woodie Neiss and the Startup Exemption folks that vividly demonstrates the potential of a crowdfunding exemption by letting entrepreneurs register themselves and show in a mouse-over map of the USA how many jobs they could create.

This ad was written by Michael Shuman, author of The Small-Mart Revolution and Going Local with contributions from Paul Spinrad, the American Sustainable Business Council, and Jake Levitas. It was designed by Jake Levitas, who created posters and other graphics for Occupy Wall Street.

Total cost: $13,530
Breakdown: $11,202 for the ad itself, $500 for design of the ad, 10% for LoudSauce's fee, and 3.5% for the WePay fees (50 cents minimum per transaction, so this percentage will actually be higher for any donations under $14.29).
So that's ((11,202 + 500) / (100 - (10 + 3.5)) = $13.530


What is Crowdfunding?

This great video from Rep. Patrick McHenry, sponsor of H.R.2930, describes crowdfunding and what a crowdfunding exemption could do for local investment:

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$2,601 pledged of $13,530

4 days to go

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About the Campaign

We are a grassroots movement for a Crowdfunding Exemption to federal securities laws-- to help small businesses and creative ventures (not Big Business). The House of Representatives is overwhelmingly in favor of the idea and the White House also supports and wants to sign it, but the Senate is stalled on the issue until it hears more from the public.

Rewards

  • Fund $5 or more
    You will be credited, thanked, acknowledged, and inscribed into economic history for your awareness and vision, on this page, and also the LegalizeCrowdfunding.org website (97% sure of this, will update when confirmed).
  • Fund $25 or more
    Online credit above, plus your portrait or logo (from your LoudSauce account settings) will appear at the bottom of the Politico print ad, in the smallest row of images.
  • Fund $110 or more
    Online credit above, plus your portrait or logo (from your LoudSauce account settings) will appear at the bottom of the Politico print ad, in the lower row of small images. 50 spots available.
  • Fund $225 or more
    Online credit above, plus your portrait or logo (from your LoudSauce account settings) will appear at the bottom of the Politico print ad, in the middle row of medium images. 25 spots available.
  • Fund $475 or more
    Online credit above, plus your portrait or logo (from your LoudSauce account settings) will appear at the bottom of the Politico print ad, in the upper row of larger images. 12 spots available.

The Placement

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26,065 copies/day to Senate, House of Representatives, Supreme Court, White House Executive Office, Departments, think tanks, embassies, trade associations, law firms, lobbying firms, interest groups, unions, the Pentagon, DNC and RNC.