Steve Case: You Have Hill Fan-Mail

Photograph by Jin Lee/Bloomberg

AOL Inc. company headquarters in New York.

Silicon Valley has Steve Case to thank for a new law that will cut back securities rules for start-up firms and allow companies to use Internet platforms to raise cash.

Case, co-founder and former chief executive officer at America Online Inc., played a central role in a rare show of congressional comity that led to the enactment of the law, which had the support of President Barack Obama and his regular Republican sparring partner Eric Cantor, the House majority leader from Virginia.

Case, who lives in Cantor’s home state, leveraged his relationships with the Republican and with Obama’s team, some of whom he’s known since his time working with the Clinton administration on Internet issues in the 1990s. He refused to appear at press conferences without members of both parties present. When he participated in briefings with Obama about different proposals eventually included in the law, he made sure to give presentations to Cantor the next day.

And when he saw that, despite a gridlocked Congress, the JOBS Act was on the precipice of passage, Case, with a ubiquitous Twitter presence, called in his friends and allies in the technology and social media worlds to give it one final push across the finish line.

Congressional aides, lobbyists and other participants in the year-long process to get the measure enacted attribute their success to a number of things: a White House looking for avenues to create jobs after a mid-term election shellacking, House Republicans looking to prove they can govern in a bipartisan fashion, fundraising from the deep-pocketed tech community, and a group of senators, many fresh off the campaign trail and with experience in private equity or venture capital, looking to foster the growth of innovative new ideas.

None disagree, however, that Case, who is already back on Capitol Hill pushing the “JOBS Act 2.0,” didn’t play a key role.

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