WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announcement of a proposed rule that would require resource extraction issuers to disclose payments made to the U.S. federal government or foreign governments for the purpose of commercially developing oil, natural gas or minerals. Senator Cardin, along with former SFRC Ranking Member Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), authored the Cardin-Lugar provision in Section 1504 of Dodd-Frank to bring transparency and accountability to the extractive industries. Congressional intent was to lessen the risk for U.S investors and provide additional information so that citizens in resource-rich countries can hold their leaders accountable. America led the international community in promoting transparency in the extractive industry by adopting Cardin-Lugar but delays by the SEC and a spurious court challenge by the oil and gas industry have allowed other countries to surpass us.
“I am pleased to see the SEC moving forward this process of defining how publicly traded oil and mining companies should disclose their payments to governments. This provision is a critical part of the increased transparency and corporate responsibility that we are striving to achieve,” said Senator Cardin. “Secrecy breeds corruption and corruption can breed instability and violence in resource rich countries. Revenue transparency increases energy security and creates U.S. jobs by reducing the operating risks U.S. companies face in inherently unstable markets. I will be reviewing the proposed rule to ensure that it does meet the letter and spirit of Congressional intent.”