By Greg Williams
The US House of Representatives repealed a bipartisan transparency initiative that affects the oil, gas and mining sector by a vote of 235-187. The "Cardin-Lugar amendment" of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act requires oil and mining companies to disclose financial activity and payments to governments in the countries where they operate. Transparency advocates hope the Senate will stop any repeal.
"I'm saddened by the House vote," stated Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development coalition Jubilee USA. "I think the House acted too hastily and many Representatives don't understand how this action hurts poor people."
The Senate could vote on companion legislation (Senate Joint Resolution 9) as early as February 2.
Developing countries lose more than one trillion dollars annually to corruption and tax evasion. These so-called "illicit financial flows" contribute significantly to poverty by diverting resources from basic social services. According to research from the organization Global Financial Integrity, a number of the countries with the highest levels of illicit financial flows possess significant quantities of natural resources, including Nigeria, Venezuela and Brazil.
"In a post-financial crisis world we should be increasing transparency, not diminishing it," stated LeCompte, who contributed to creating Section 1504. "We believe the Senate can make the right decision to take us forward, but the vote will be close."
Read more about the Cardin-Lugar amendment