WASHINGTON – Within the next 24 hours, the US House of Representatives could repeal a bipartisan transparency initiative that affects the oil, gas and mining sector. The “Cardin-Lugar amendment” of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act requires oil and mining companies to disclose financial activity and payments to governments in the countries it operates. While repeal in the House seems likely, transparency advocates hope the Senate will stop any repeal. If repeal measures pass the House and Senate, President Donald Trump would have to sign the bill to go into effect.
“Section 1504 deters bribery, stops corruption and curbs tax evasion. It provides transparency protections for workers and vulnerable populations,” explained Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development coalition Jubilee USA. LeCompte serves on United Nations expert groups that focus on tax and transparency issues. “We need more laws that promote transparency and financial disclosure. This is not a moment we can walk away from transparency.”
The House vote on the Cardin-Lugar amendment or Section 1504 of Dodd-Frank is part of a so-called Congressional Review Act that would repeal a broad range of federal rules. The Securities and Exchange Commission finalized Section 1504 in June, 2016, six years after Congress passed the amendment that mandated it. Jubilee USA worked on the initial passage of the amendment. Supporters of the “Cardin-Lugar amendment” believe the legislation helps tackle some of the more than one trillion dollars lost each year to corruption and tax evasion in the developing world.
Senate James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) announced he will lead efforts to repeal Section 1504 in the Senate.
“We implore Congress to take a step back and study the drastic impacts on poor populations that could come from repealing anti-corruption measures,” noted LeCompte, who urged Congress not to harm Section 1504 in a letter sent Tuesday. “This was a bipartisan action that upholds a bipartisan commitment to ending extreme poverty around the world.”
Read the letter Jubilee USA’s executive director sent to Congress on the legislation