“Transparency empowers citizens, investors, regulators, and other watchdogs and is a necessary ingredient of good governance for countries and companies alike.”
“Transparency is the enemy of corruption, and today the United States has sent a clear message to government officials who seek to siphon off public funds for personal gain.”
Publish What You Pay (PWYP) members around the world campaign to create a more open and accountable extractives sector. Countries rich in natural resources often fall prey to the resource curse, a paradoxical condition where countries with an abundance of natural resources are some of the poorest in the world due to mismanagement and corruption. Because transparency is the best disinfectant, PWYP believes that shining a light on the financial flows between governments and companies will allow citizens to demand accountability for how their resource wealth is managed.
PWYP-US kick-started this effort 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.
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. Reporting began in Norway in 2015, in the European Union in 2016, and in Canada in 2017.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released the implementing rule for Section 1504 on June 27, 2016. In January 2017, Congress utilized the undemocratic Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal the rule. This blatant gift to industry walked back US commitments to combat corruption, and puts US national and energy security at risk. Despite this setback, the Securities and Exchange Commission must release a new implementing rule within a year of the previous rule’s repeal.