Oxfam jumps into oil payments disclosure lawsuit

Oxfam America is seeking to join a closely watched lawsuit in defense of Securities and Exchange Commission rules that force oil and mining companies to disclose their payments to foreign governments.

The anti-poverty group filed a motion Wednesday to formally intervene in the court case. Oxfam supports the new rules that the American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups are seeking to scuttle.

“The provision ... will provide vital information to investors such as Oxfam, while at the same time allowing people in communities where these natural resources are found, and their international allies, to hold governments accountable for natural resource revenues,” Oxfam said in its filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Click here for much more on the SEC rules.

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Oxfam says it should be allowed to be a party in the lawsuit or, alternatively, participate as “amicus curiae” (“friend of the court”), which would enable the group to formally weigh in with the judges.

Oil industry and business groups sued the SEC earlier in October over regulations that they allege will impose costly burdens and harm the competitiveness of SEC-listed companies captured by the new mandates.

The Oxfam filing states that the SEC doesn’t oppose the bid to join the case and that the industry groups that filed the suit “take no position at this time.”