Congressional records show that the company that owns the NASDAQ stock exchange has hired Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to lobby for the group on Capitol Hill.
Effective March 15, the lobbying effort is being headed by Brownstein Hyatt's Carmencita Whonder, a D.C.-based policy director with the firm. Whonder previously has served on a number of legislative committees on Capitol Hill concerned with economic policy and banking regulation.
The disclosure report does not specifically address any measures NASDAQ OMX wants Whonder to focus on. According to the form, Brownstein will "[d]irectly interface with Members of Congress to build relationships and encourage through legislation or regulatory action the priorities of NASDA[Q] OMX."
The company as of late has been concerned with passage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, signed into law April 5, which rewrites the rules on how small businesses are classified.
Since Feb. 16, NASDAQ OMX has issued at least eight press releases supporting the JOBS Act. In one, Executive Vice President Bruce Aust of NASDAQ OMX's Global Corporate Client Group said the company "offers its unequivocal support" for the bill, citing the company's reputation as the "home of many great companies" that started out small.
"This legislation will enhance the opportunities for these companies to become public companies, and eliminate regulatory obstacles that do not serve investors or the public," Aust is quoted as saying in the Feb. 16 release.
By reclassifying small businesses with gross annual revenues under $1 billion at the time they file with the Securities and Exchange Commission as "Emerging Growth Companies," the JOBS Act is an attempt by Congress to lower the cost of an Initial Public Offering by easing compliance requirements.
The Senate version of the bill was sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who Whonder worked for as a principal adviser on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. She also previously served as minority staff director for the Senate Subcommittee on Economic Policy.
Whonder could not be reached for comment by press time. Wayne Lee, a spokesman for NASDAQ OMX based in Maryland, declined to comment.