WASHINGTON – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruled Monday that all foreign and domestic companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges and involved in oil, gas and mineral resource extraction must publish the project-level payments they make to foreign countries in which they operate.
The rule implements Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, a provision authored by U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) in 2010. America led the international community in promoting transparency in the extractive industry by adopting Cardin-Lugar six years ago, but delays by the SEC and a spurious court challenge by the oil and gas industry have allowed other countries to surpass the United States.
“Today is a watershed moment as the United States reclaims its position as a leader in the effort to increase global accountability and transparency. This final rule will enable citizens and local civil society organizations to hold government leaders accountable for their management of valuable oil, gas, and mineral resources and revenues while ensuring investor protections,” Senator Cardin said. “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.”
Section 1504 will benefit investors in extractive industry companies, contribute to more functional and secure energy markets, and empower citizens and shareholders in the United States and abroad. Particularly in resource rich but otherwise poor countries, when citizens have such power, they can access information they need to hold their leaders accountable.
“I thank the Publish What You Pay coalition, Oxfam America, the One Campaign, and other partners for their tireless work leading up to today’s achievement. And this rule would not have been possible without the strong leadership and support of former Senators Lugar, Dodd and Senators Leahy and Durbin,” Cardin added.