News: Department of Treasury Seeks to Undermine Congress and SEC on Oil and Mining Transparency Mandate

Read the statement in pdf

For Immediate Release: October 10, 2017

Contact: Jana Morgan, Director – jmorgan@pwypusa.org

Mobile: 703-795-8542 Office: 202-496-1189

Department of Treasury Seeks to Undermine Congress and SEC on

Oil and Mining Transparency Mandate

Publish What You Pay – United States Director, Jana Morgan’s, statement responding to the Treasury Department’s recommendation to repeal Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act:

“We are disappointed that the Treasury Department has recommended the repeal of the bipartisan Cardin-Lugar Anti-Corruption provision, relying on tired arguments that have been repeatedly refuted with concrete evidence, years of analysis, and two extensive rulemaking processes at the SEC.”

“The Cardin-Lugar Provision, also known as Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, simply calls on oil, gas and mining companies to report the project-level payments they make to governments for access to natural resources. The provision has the support of a diverse group of stakeholders, including investors, extractive companies, economists, national security experts, civil society groups around the world, the Department of Interior , Department of State and USAID .”

“It is investors, and not Treasury Department, who should decide what is material. Investors with nearly $10 trillion in assets under management have long supported the Cardin-Lugar provision, and they have repeatedly told the SEC that this information is vital to allow them to better assess and mitigate investment risks in the volatile oil, gas and minerals markets.”

“Similarly, the disclosures required by Cardin-Lugar are strongly supported by major oil, gas and mining companies. These companies recognize the business benefits of transparency, which allows them to demonstrate the economic contributions they make in regions where they operate. Cardin-Lugar also plays a critical anti-corruption function by deterring and exposing corrupt conduct and protecting companies, and their investors, from bribe-seeking government officials. The benefits are significant, and as extractive company officials have made clear, the costs of disclosure are ‘negligible.’”

“The United States was once the leader in creating a more open and accountable oil, gas and mining sector. Unfortunately, we now lag behind international efforts as our allies in the European Union, Norway, UK and Canada are all implementing laws based on the Cardin-Lugar provision. State-owned Chinese and Russian companies are already reporting their project-level payments to governments under these disclosure laws, meaning they are currently more transparent than U.S. companies. Our government should be working to reclaim our leadership role rather than enabling greater secrecy in an already corruption-plagued industry. ”

“The Treasury Department’s baseless claims come straight from Big Oil’s talking points and these recommendations are nothing more than an attempt to undermine the autonomy of the SEC to carry out its Congressionally mandated obligation to produce a strong rule implementing the Cardin-Lugar provision.”