The provision is aimed at increasing transparency to help undo the “resource curse,” in which some impoverished countries in Africa and elsewhere are plagued by high levels of corruption and conflict alongside their energy and mineral wealth.
“[T]he SEC’s pattern of delay gives no assurance that it will ever promulgate a final rule without the involvement of this Court,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit alleges that the SEC’s failure to finish the rules “denies an important tool for assessing investment risk and impedes Congress’s plan to use transparency to tackle the resource curse.”
Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) authored the transparency provision of the Dodd-Frank law.
“We have been patient, but the Commission’s continued failure to issue a Final Rule implementing Cardin-Lugar frustrates Congress’s intent to increase transparency in resource-rich countries,” said Ian Gary, senior policy manager of Oxfam America’s oil, gas and mining program, in a statement. “For those living in poverty in resource-rich countries, there’s no time left to wait.”
Oil companies say the rules could create a competitive disadvantage, while human-rights groups accuse the industry of seeking provisions that would gut the intent of the law.