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2 Feb 2017

Jana Morgan, Director, Publish What You Pay - United States

A gift for Putin, courtesy of Congress

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With unresolved questions lingering about Russia’s interference in...[US] elections, it is peculiar that one of the apparent priorities of the new Congress is to hand Russian president Vladimir Putin a rather valuable gift.  Only one month on the job the House has rushed to kill a regulation intended to make it more difficult for Vladimir Putin and other corrupt leaders to rule with impunity. It’s an odd thing to do, especially when doing so would undermine U.S. security and foreign policy objectives.  Why would Congress do such a short-sighted thing? Money. Not yours, but that of oil companies, namely the profits of big oil companies and the millions of dollars the oil industry generously “donates” to members of Congress each year... 

The regulation in question, a bipartisan anti-corruption provision passed in 2010..., requires oil, gas and mining companies to disclose the payments they make to government around the world. This includes places like Russia, China, and many other non-democracies whose leaders treat oil revenues as a state secret in order to stay in power and enrich themselves at the expense of their citizens, millions of whom struggle just to survive. Put an end to that secrecy, and suddenly citizens are empowered with information they can use to hold their leaders accountable. [refers to ExxonMobil]

Part of the following timelines

US Congress undoes Dodd-Frank regulations on extractive industry revenue transparency

Publish What You Pay urges oil, gas & mining firms to support US law on disclosure of payments to govts. - statements of support by 13 firms