Jonathan B. Wilson

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Jonathan Wilson is an Atlanta attorney with more than 19 years of experience guiding growing private and public companies.  He currently serves as the outside general counsel of several companies and is the former general counsel of (NASDAQ: WWWW) and EasyLink Services (NASDAQ: ESIC).  He is also the founding chair of the Renewable Energy Committee of the American Bar Association's Public Utility Section.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

DOJ to Issue Guidance on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breur announced at a conference recently that the Department of Justice would be issuing new guidance on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. 

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (or "FCPA") is a U.S. law that dates back to the 1970s and prohibits U.S. companies and their agents from making payments to foreign government officials to induce them to act in derogation of their duties.

The law was originally intended to prevent U.S. oil companies from bribing their way into lucrative drilling contracts in the Middle East but the law is flexible enough to cover many other situations.  Because the law can bring criminal
sanctions, officers and employees of U.S. companies need to exercise extreme care when negotiating contracts outside the U.S.  

The new guidance should be helpful to attorneys who advise U.S. companies on international sales representative and reseller contracts.   
8:48 am edt 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Awaiting a Ruling on Obamacare

As all eyes remain glued on the Supreme Court, awaiting a ruling on the Affordable Care Act, it seems hard to avoid the conclusion that this is going to be a bad week for President Obama:

1. His Attorney General is almost certain to be held in contempt of Congress this week over a botched gun-walking project that would be comical if it weren't for the fact that it resulted in the death of at least one U.S. border patrol agent;

2. The Eurozone remains mired in a financial crisis (the result of following policies of precisely the sort President Obama would implement in the U.S. if it were up to him) and the only thing the Europeans can agree on is that they disagree with the U.S. President; and

3. Elected officials from his own party seem to be tripping over each other to avoid endorsing the President or appearing at his convention this summer.

If the Supremes uphold Obamacare, the ruling will further enrage the 55% or more of Americans who want the law overruled.  If the Supremes strike down Obamacare, they demonstrate that Obama wasted the bulk of his first term in office, which was dominated by the buildup to his health care law. 

The week feels like it is going to be the beginning of the end for this presidency. 

8:48 am edt 

Friday, June 22, 2012

CEI Sues Over Constitutionality of Dodd-Frank
The Competitive Enterprise Institute has filed a constitutional challenge to parts of the Dodd-Frank “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act”. (Complaint.) 
The complaint argues that Dodd-Frank represents an unprecedented exercise of illegally unchecked government power. It puts control of practically every financial institution into the hands of several new agencies.  One of them, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), is run by a single director put into office by President Obama through an illegal recess appointment.

"As a whole, Dodd-Frank aggregates the power of all three branches of government in one unelected, unsupervised and unaccountable bureaucrat," said former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray.  (WSJ: Why Dodd-Frank is Unconstitutional.) 

There are no effective checks and balances to assure the public of accountability. Most importantly:
  • Congress exercises no “power of the purse” over Dodd Frank’s CFPB, because the agency is funded not by Congress but by the Federal Reserve, amounting to approximately $400 million that Congress cannot touch
  • The President cannot carry out his constitutional obligation to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” because the President cannot remove the CFPB Director except under limited circumstances.
  • Judicial review of the CFPB’s actions is limited, because Dodd-Frank requires the courts to give extra deference to the CFPB’s legal interpretations.
  • This unaccountable power over the daily lives of the American people results in a lack of public accountability, creating a power grab over every U.S. citizen. It also threatens to restrict the availability and increase the cost of such things as mortgages and banking accounts.

CEI has successfully challenged such unchecked bureaucracy before. In 2010, the Supreme Court sided with CEI in striking down parts of the Sarbanes-Oxley law, because it too created an unaccountable agency, the Public Accounting Oversight Board.

9:21 am edt 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

All Eyes on the Supremes

All eyes these days seem to be focused on the Supreme Court, waiting for a ruling on the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare).  (SCOTUSblog). 

SCOTUSblog is reporting that it has over 70,000 readers watching its live blog of the Supreme Court's opinion day.    

10:23 am edt 

Friday, August 12, 2011

11th Circuit Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, has struck down the individual mandate of President Obama's healthcare law in a ruling issued today in State of Florida v. U.S. Dept. of HHS (11-11021-HH). 
2:28 pm edt 

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Jonathan B. Wilson is an Atlanta attorney at the law firm of Taylor English Duma LLP.  Jonathan B. Wilson provides legal advice to investors, companies and business executives involving corporate law, securities law, SEC matters, intellectual property, website and Internet legal issues, start-ups, limited liability companies, partnerships, 1934 Act matters, outsourcing, strategic alliance agreements, contracts, and other matters of importance to growing private and publicly-traded companies.