On Capitol Hill: Several prominent Democrats are pushing back against a Treasury Department recommendation that Congress should repeal a Dodd-Frank provision that's supposed to force oil, gas and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments.
A letter today to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin from 13 Senate Democrats says the recommendation — contained in a wider set of Treasury policy suggestions — would undermine global transparency and anti-corruption efforts, and also states:
"Today, as oil, gas, and mining projects enter increasingly dangerous and conflict-prone frontiers, investors need full disclosure to guide their decision-making and to protect themselves from social, political, sanctions, expropriation, reputational, regulatory, and other risks."
Why it matters: The letter, led by Foreign Relations Committee ranking Democrat Ben Cardin, is the latest thrust-and-parry in a years-long battle over the provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that's designed to boost transparency as a way to ease the "resource curse" — the corruption, conflict and poverty often found in mineral states in Africa and elsewhere.
- Other Democrats on the letter include Minority Whip Dick Durbin and Elizabeth Warren.
Backstory: Early this year congressional Republicans and the White House passed a law that nullified the SEC's implementing regulations for the provision, siding with oil industry interests that said the rules would create a competitive disadvantage and impose burdensome costs.
Yes, but: The underlying Dodd-Frank mandate remains, so it's not clear how the SEC will write a new regulation or on what timeframe.