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Senate Kills SEC Anti-corruption Disclosure Rule for Big Energy Companies

Posted  February 3, 2017

The Republican-led Congress killed a controversial U.S. securities disclosure rule early on Friday aimed at curbing corruption at big oil, gas and mining companies. In a 52 to 47 vote, the Senate approved a resolution already passed by the House of Representatives that wipes from the books a rule requiring companies such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp to publicly state the taxes and other fees they pay to foreign governments. Republican President Donald Trump is expected to sign it shortly.

Exxon and other major energy corporations have fought for years to prevent the rule, required by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law, from seeing the light of day. After a series of legal battles, the SEC in June 2016 completed the regulation, which supporters say can help expose questionable financial ties U.S. companies may have with foreign governments. Democrats in the Senate had raised concerns during debate late on Wednesday that Exxon’s chief executive during those legal fights was Rex Tillerson, recently confirmed as Secretary of State, the country’s top diplomatic post. Tillerson, who has done extensive business in Russia, had raised Democrats’ hackles at his confirmation hearing by saying he did not know Exxon had lobbied against U.S. sanctions on Russia. Reuters