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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nearly all SPACs based in California have at least one woman on their boards, complying with a new state law.

Why it matters: Access to opportunities for wealth generation can help close the gender gap.

The big picture: SPACs are publicly-traded shell companies that acquire a business for the purpose of taking them public. They've been around for years, but have proliferated in 2020.

By the numbers: Only five out of 26 California-based SPACs trading on the market do not currently have a woman on their board.

  • Sixteen have just one women on their boards, four of them have two, and one (Panacea Acquisition Corp.) has three.
  • A number of newly-formed SPACs are still missing women directors, per SEC filings, although they haven't yet hit the public markets.

The law does not have transition provisions for companies planning to go public, but it only requires a female director "for at least a portion of the year." Enforcement is based on 10-K forms, giving companies more wiggle room to fulfill the requirement.

  • "A lot of these deals go from the organization meeting to closing in eight to 10 weeks," points out lawyer Jocelyn Arel, a partner Goodwin who specializes in SPACs, adding that often new board members are added subsequently.
  • The law is also facing a couple of ongoing lawsuits.

The bigger picture: Other states are already following suit, with Washington passing a bill earlier this year and Massachusetts considering similar legislation.

  • California lawmakers also recently passed a bill that would require publicly-held companies to add board members from other underrepresented groups, such as Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, and LGBTQ. Gov. Newson has until Sept. 30 to make a decision.

Go deeper: California's "woman quota" law seems to be working

Go deeper

Trump appoints more loyalists to board seats

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Trump on Tuesday included some of his most loyal defenders in more than three dozen appointments to federal board seats, including former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, former acting director of national intelligence Richard Grenell and former National Security Council staffer Ezra Cohen-Watnick.

Why it matters: The president is still refusing to publicly acknowledge his election loss but such appointments are a typical means for outgoing presidents to extend their legacy. The positions are usually unpaid, have little political power and do not require Senate confirmations.

51 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats settling on 25% corporate tax rate

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The universe of Democratic senators concerned about raising the corporate tax rate to 28% is broader than Sen. Joe Manchin, and the rate will likely land at 25%, parties close to the discussion tell Axios.

Why it matters: While increasing the rate from 21% to 25% would raise about $600 billion over 15 years, it would leave President Biden well short of paying for his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year infrastructure package.

GOP pivot: Big business to small dollars

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republican leaders turned to grassroots supporters and raked in sizable donations after corporations cut them off post-Jan. 6.

Why it matters: If those companies hoped to push the GOP toward the center, they may have done just the opposite by turning Republican lawmakers toward their most committed — and ideologically driven — supporters.