Congressional Republicans are planning to repeal an SEC rule, established under the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose all payments to foreign governments for things like licenses and permits. Experts say such payments are often used to conceal bribes. The rule is currently set to go into effect in 2018. The enactment of previous version of the rule was stalled by an oil industry lawsuit. The SEC subsequently rewrote the rule.
Yesterday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy published an op-ed, in which he wrote that the House will “take the ax” to the rule. He also called out the rule as an unreasonable compliance burden on the American energy industry that does not apply to foreign competitors.
To repeal the rule Congress can use the Congressional Review Act, which allows the legislature to overturn rules finalized in the preceding 60 legislative days. The rule, approved by the SEC in late June, falls within the deadline.
Since the passage of Dodd-Frank, the EU, Norway, and Canada have enacted similar disclosure requirements on domestic and international oil, gas, and mining industries. Many American energy companies will still have to disclose such payments under European rules, but the SEC rule would apply to an additional 425 companies—including Exxon Mobil, which has been aggressively lobbying against the rule since 2011.
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