How the 2012 Election Results Will Affect eBay
By: eBay Inc. Editors
Nearly two weeks after the 2012 Presidential election, life has moved on for the average voter. Foreign airstrikes, fiscal cliffs, and CIA love quadrangles have replaced ballot initiatives and policy debates as most Americans’ top subjects of concern.
But the government relations team here at eBay Inc. is still evaluating how the election results will directly impact the world of commerce and what we — and our partners — do. Here are the team’s takeaways on a couple big issues heading into 2013.
Internet Sales Taxes
The re-election of President Barack Obama and no change to the controlling parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives means that momentum for an Internet sales tax bill remains. The “wild card” for 2013, says eBay Inc. Vice President & Deputy General Counsel Tod Cohen, is how the Republican leaders in the House and Senate react to this issue. Will Republicans be looking to find revenue for state and local government, or will they look for a tax issue to fight over that is not a “tax cut for the rich?”
Financial Services Regulation
Republicans retaining control of the House keeps the likelihood of new financial services legislation low, says Cohen. However, financial services regulators under the Obama Administration are fairly active and are likely to remain so in the next four years. There is general agreement that the financial services and payments worlds are changing rapidly and that the existing regulatory structure does not align well with the industry. Yet, there is no consensus on the right direction for change.
First Sale and IP Rights
The defeat of PIPA-SOPA in early 2012 was a larger deal than the loss of any particular candidate or incumbent on Election Day, says Cohen. The intellectual property rights industries retain significant strength on Capitol Hill, although there is no consensus among the IP industries on how to move forward to address Internet-enabled piracy. Depending on how the Supreme Court rules on the Wiley v. Kirtsaeng case on First Sale rights (Kirtsaeng was an eBay seller), eBay may be leading a coalition of consumer groups and retailers to enact targeted First Sale legislation. The Supreme Court ruling is expected by late Spring 2013.
Privacy and Cyber Security
Momentum remains unchanged for privacy and cyber security legislation or regulation. A Romney administration’s regulatory agency would likely have been less regulatory than the Obama administration’s, and the latter’s security officials appear to have fairly concrete plans on the cyber security front.