WASHINGTON — ONE warmly welcomes the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) historic adoption of regulations to implement the Cardin-Lugar Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. While we await the full wording of the rule, based on the statements of the Commission and staff it represents a major breakthrough towards ending corruption, promoting human rights, protecting investors and strengthening U.S. national security.
Bono, the co-founder of ONE, said:
“This is where the rubber hits the road. Or rather, the oil and gas and copper and diamonds. For anyone who thinks corruption is as big a killer as AIDS, TB, and malaria are, this is a really big deal. As Justice Brandeis said long ago, sunlight truly is a disinfectant, to which I’d add that transparency is the best vaccine against corruption.
We and others need to absorb the details of the SEC’s rule, but it reflects the reason the Cardin-Lugar legislation was passed in the first place: to use the law to provide some real world solutions in transforming the lives of the poor.
We applaud all those, such as Sens. Cardin, Lugar and Leahy, who have carried so much water on this. ONE and our partners in the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Coalition will continue to call on leaders from Berlin to Beijing to pass laws similar to that now in effect in the U.S.”
The Cardin-Lugar Extractives Transparency Amendment makes it mandatory for all companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges (or filing annual reports with the SEC) to disclose what they pay to the U.S. and foreign governments for extracting oil and gas, and mining. Significantly, the SEC made clear that they would not provide exemptions for any companies or any countries. By making payments public, the rule will: significantly improve the business environment; empower all citizens, especially in Africa, with valuable information on government revenues that they need in order to hold their leaders accountable; and make it harder for corrupt officials to divert revenues away from spending on vital services such as healthcare, schools and clean water.
“This is a great day,” said ONE President and CEO Michael Elliott. “We are incredibly grateful to Senators Ben Cardin, Richard Lugar and Patrick Leahy, as well as Representatives Barney Frank, Maxine Waters and others for their strong bipartisan leadership on this groundbreaking measure. We now urge the European Union to quickly pass its own extractive transparency law and other nations around the world to follow suit, so that we soon have a truly common, international standard on natural resource transparency. Global leaders should show their commitment to eliminating extreme poverty by ensuring the vast potential of the world’s natural endowment is harnessed to improve the lives of some of its poorest people.”
ONE and the PWYP coalition will provide further reaction once the full rule is published by the SEC.