BREAKING: Victory for Transparency!!

Big, big news: The Cardin-Lugar Transparency amendment just passed in the Senate!

Late in May, ONE put out an urgent call to all our members to call their Senators and urge them to vote in favor of including the Cardin-Lugar Transparency amendment to the Senate Financial Regulation bill. Our members generated more than 1,000 calls to the Senate and helped secure enough support for its sponsors, Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), to be confident of winning the vote. However, due to a procedural motion in the Senate, we were denied the opportunity to have the vote. Since then, we’ve been working furiously toward the inclusion of the Cardin/Lugar amendment after the House and Senate met in June to iron out differences between their two bills and settle on a final version. Championed by Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), the amendment was accepted in conference and was part of the final bill, which has since passed the House.

The transparency amendment is ONE’s biggest effort to fight corruption in poor countries to date. Through this amendment, ONE members are working to fight corruption and ensure that payments received by their governments and natural resources, go toward meeting Millennium Development Goals like health care, schools and clean water, not into the pockets of corrupt public officials. It makes it mandatory for all companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange to disclose what they pay to foreign governments for extracting oil and gas or mining gold and diamonds. In essence, we are helping to shed light on the finances of some of the most corrupt and closed regimes in the world–including Burma, Zimbabwe and Sudan– through the multinational corporations that do business with them.

ONE members’ calls to their senators made an enormous difference in our efforts to get the amendment included in the final bill. Today is a big victory not just for the people who will be positively affected by this important legislation, but for everyone who believes in transparency and accountability. Go ahead and give yourselves a pat on the back!