The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is back on the job as President Trump signed a bill that will re-open the government for three weeks – until February 15th. The closure of federal offices was due to a political spat between the Democrats and the White House over funding of a border wall. While there is still no agreement on “border security” there is some latent hope that moderate Democrats will join with Republicans to find a resolution for the two entrenched sides. In a twist of irony, some reports have claimed the shutdown cost far more to the economy than the cost of President Trump’s wall. But then you get the government that you elect.
While the government shutdown impacted just 25% of federal operations, the government is quite large and many private sector businesses depend upon it. The SEC was one of the federal agencies that shuttered its doors dropping from a normal staff level of more than 4400 to just a few hundred. This impacted certain companies seeking to raise capital or go public, including Reg A+ crowdfunding issuers.
Yesterday, the SEC posted an update on their site regarding recommencement of operations and SEC Chair Jay Clayton published a public statement addressing the return to normal operations.
While the doors may have re-opened one can only wonder how long it will take SEC staffers to regain their sea-legs from the backlog of filings, enforcement actions, and public requests. While staffing may be at a normal level expect a period of slower responses and delays. This will be aggravated even further if the White House and Congress cannot compromise for the health of the economy and for the benefit of the nation by Valentines Day.