Publish What You Pay (PWYP) members around the world campaign to create a more open and accountable extractives sector.
Due to the exploitative nature of the extractivist model, countries from which oil, gas, and minerals are extracted frequently become impoverished, rather than enriched from these industries. While the consequences of extraction are diverse and far reaching, PWYP focuses on the financial flows from the sector. We work to counter the tools that companies and political leaders use to make backroom deals and siphon away government revenues into illicit financial flows that end up in offshore bank accounts.
PWYP-US began our Mandatory Disclosure work over ten years ago by securing the passage of a landmark transparency law, the Cardin-Lugar Provision of the Dodd-Frank Act (also known as Section 1504), which requires oil, gas and mining companies listed on US stock exchanges to publicly disclose their project-level payments in every country of operation, including the United States. This historic anti-corruption safeguard was the product of over a decade of bipartisan legislative efforts to bring transparency to the natural resources sector. These disclosures are meant to provide project-level payment information to the general public so that communities and civil society groups can track payments owed and detect corruption while investors use the information to assess risk.
While Big Oil’s attempts to weaken Section 1504 have slowed implementation in the United States, the passage of Section 1504 catalyzed the development of a global transparency standard. Since 2010, 30 countries have implemented payment transparency laws modeled on Section 1504. Today these countries are successfully implementing laws inspired by Section 1504 with no harm to industry. Reporting began in Norway in 2015, in the European Union in 2016, and in Canada in 2017. Over $1 trillion in payments made to over 150 countries have been disclosed by more than 950 public, private, and state-owned companies.
Thanks to the unrivaled power of the US oil industry, the US has gone from leader to laggard in global efforts to prevent corruption in the extractive industries. After years of delays due to lawsuits filed by the American Petroleum Institute, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released the implementing rule for Section 1504 on June 27, 2016. In January 2017, a Republican-led Congress fueled by industry lobbying used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal the rule. This blatant gift to industry walked back US commitments to combat corruption and began four years of brazen giveaways to the industry under the Trump Administration.
Most recently, Trump’s SEC Chair Jay Clayton attempted to finish the task of gutting Section 1504 with the passage of a midnight rule days before the end of the Trump administration in December 2020. This move ignored the voices of investors, citizens in resource-rich countries, anti-corruption experts, the original Congressional Champions of the law, and former high-ranking government officials.
PWYP-US is committed to undoing this damage and is currently working with Joe Biden’s newly appointed SEC Chair to remedy some of the worst parts of the 2020 Final Rule to ensure that the rule serves the needs of investors and citizens in resource-rich countries as Congress intended.