B2B Payments

Democrats to SEC: Restore Payments Disclosure Rule

Last week, 58 House Democrats told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it was critical for the organization to reinstate a rule that requires full disclosures from energy and mining companies on the payments they make to foreign governments.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the rule was controversial, and that a federal judge tossed an earlier version of the rule in July. In that ruling, the judge explained that the agency didn’t have a mandate to force companies to publicly disclose all the payments.

Oil companies were strongly opposed to the rule, and said that it gave foreign rivals an advantage in the competition for oil rights because they had to make sensitive business information public. The judge agreed, saying “The commission fundamentally miscalculated the scope of its discretion.”

However, lawmakers are pushing for a new proposal to the rule by the end of the year. The SEC said that it will hopefully have a new rule by March 2015.

“The existing rule-making record should provide the necessary basis to swiftly schedule a new rule-making and to reissue a rule mandating public disclosure by company and by project with no exemptions,” the lawmakers wrote, according to the Journal. Additionally, the lawmakers urged a new proposal by “no later than the end of this year.” 

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