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Oxfam America Sues SEC Over Missed Dodd-Frank Deadline

Joe Mont | May 17, 2012

Oxfam America is suing the Securities and Exchange
Commission over its failure to implement a provision of the Dodd-Frank Act
requiring the disclosure of payments from oil, gas, and mining companies to foreign
governments.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in the US District Court for the
District of Massachusetts, asks the court to order the SEC to issue a Final
Rule as required by Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act.

The international relief and development organization says the provision would “provide information
to investors and citizens in resource-rich countries, help stem corruption, and
encourage the accountable use of billions of dollars in annual revenues from
the oil, gas and mining sector.”  It
claims that investors representing more than $1.2 trillion worth of assets
under management have made submissions to the SEC in support of the provision.

The SEC issued a proposed rule on December 15, 2010 in
advance of an April 17, 2011 deadline mandated by Congress. A final rule
has yet to be issued and, last month, Oxfam America notified the SEC that it
would file suit if one was not issued within 30 days.

 “One of the reasons
for the financial crisis was a lack of public information about the real risks
of investments,” Ian Gary, senior policy manager of Oxfam America's oil, gas
and mining program, said in a statement. “In the case of the oil and mining
industries, investors have a right to know how and whether companies are
exposed to political and expropriation risks in volatile resource-rich
countries.”