Federal court strikes down Dodd-Frank rule to require disclosure of corporate payments to foreign governments
- Year: 2013
- Length: 2:21 minutes (2.15 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
A federal judge struck down a piece of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law this week, siding with the American Petroleum Institute against the Securities and Exchange Commission. The rule in question, which was ordered by Congress back in 2010, would require oil, gas and mining companies to disclose the payments they make to foreign governments. Ian Gary is an oil and mining policy expert with Oxfam America, who joined the SEC in this case. He said the intent of the rule was to increase transparency and prevent corruption in resource-rich countries.
“Good examples are places like Angola, where a small clique is controlling oil revenues while the population lives in poverty. Another example is Equatorial Guinea, where the president has been ruling with an iron hand for the last several decades. The country has a per-capita income of over 20 thousand dollars, but the large majority of people live in abject poverty.”
Since the Dodd-Frank reforms passed Congress in 2010, the SEC has been gathering public comments and researching the pros and cons of this rule and several others. The American Petroleum Institute, which represents fossil fuel giants BP, Shell, Chevron and others, sued the agency after they released the final transparency rule last fall. District Judge John Bates struck down the rule this Tuesday. He said the federal agency went beyond the intent of Congress by requiring these disclosures be accessible to the public, not just the US government. But Gary, echoing statements by the SEC and the Senators that originally wrote this rule, said the public disclosure element is crucial.
“Anybody with an Internet connection will be able to go find that information. So if you’re sitting in the Niger Delta, being able to find out how much exactly a company is paying the Nigerian government for a project where you live is hugely important. Not only for the citizens, but the regional governments as well.”
The SEC is currently reviewing the judge’s ruling, and could either rewrite the disclosure rule or appeal this ruling to a higher court.