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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House Financial Services Committee tomorrow will hold its GameStop hearing, including testimony from the heads of Robinhood, Reddit, Citadel and Melvin Capital. Plus the trader known as "Roaring Kitty," who had better be wearing his headband.

What we know: Conventional wisdom is that the hearing will be lots of sound and fury signifying nothing.

  • It's the right read. Particularly since most of the proposed fixes would come from the SEC rather than from Congress (which hasn't even scheduled a confirmation hearing for President Biden's SEC chair nominee, Gary Gensler).

But a more meaningful investor democratization narrative could emerge between beratings of Silicon Valley and Wall Street executives, involving private market investments.

  • Committee members Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) kept returning to this idea last night, during a Clubhouse conversation organized by D.C. news startup Punchbowl.
  • They complained that current accredited investor rules are what really creates a rigged market, preventing most retail investors from participating in the financial upside of hot tech startups like Robinhood and Clubhouse.
  • Gonzalez introduced a bill last year to begin expanding access. McHenry yesterday suggested eliminating the quantitative accredited investor thresholds, replacing them with some sort of investor knowledge test (something that NYSE president Stacey Cunningham also suggested to me last week during our "Axios on HBO" interview).

Between the lines: Gonzalez and McHenry are both in the minority right now. Plus, they'd need to overcome the reality that tech startups are flush with investor interest (just look at today's VC Deals section), which means structural easing of access might not achieve the desired result.

The bottom line: Efforts to expand retail exposure to private markets isn't new, particularly if you consider crowdfunding. The GameStop saga, though, might have given them renewed momentum, despite not being directly related.

Go deeper: Hedge funds will be the villain at GameStop hearing

Go deeper

Right wing builds its own echo chamber

Expand chart
Data: Apptopia; Table: Axios Visuals

Conservatives are aggressively building their own apps, phones, cryptocurrencies and publishing houses in an attempt to circumvent what they see as an increasingly liberal internet and media ecosystem.

Why it matters: Many of these efforts couldn't exist without the backing of major corporate figures and billionaires who are eager to push back against things like "censorship" and "cancel culture."

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to 4 years in prison

An anti-coup protest in Yangon, Myanmar.Photo: Hkun Lat/Getty Images

A Myanmar court sentenced the country's ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Monday to four years in prison on charges of "inciting public unrest" and breaking COVID-19 protocols, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's the first of several verdicts that could result in the 76-year-old Nobel laureate being imprisoned for the rest of her life. The 11 charges she faces have been widely criticised as politically motivated.

6 hours ago - World

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis adresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Sunday. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"

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