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31 Jan 2017

Former Senator Richard Lugar and Sen. Ben Cardin, in The Hill (USA)

Put the American people first: Keep the anti-corruption rule

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...[Some] politicians now want to...cancel a pioneering anti-corruption law that bolsters American national security, advances our humanitarian goals, and demonstrates U.S. moral leadership. The bipartisan Cardin-Lugar amendment, aimed at fighting corruption in mineral-rich developing countries,...requires that oil, gas and mining companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges (whether or not U.S.-based) disclose their royalties and other payments to foreign governments... [Many] resource-rich countries are actually poor because the vast mineral revenues breed corruption that leads to poverty, hunger and instability. Oil-rich Venezuela is running out of food and medicine.  Nigeria, with vast reserves, is gripped by economic crisis and terrorism.  This “resource curse” is not only a tragedy for the citizens of these countries, it impacts Americans, too. It has empowered anti-American dictators... It worsens global poverty, which can be a seedbed for terrorism... 

One way to fight this corruption...is to reveal just how much money the autocrats are making from their oil, gas, copper, gold and other resources. These vast sums are often secrets known only to the governments and the international extractive industry companies who pay them. Disclosure of these funds shifts power from the elites to the citizens so they can “follow the money” and hold governments accountable. [refers to disclosure reports already filed by BP, Shell, Total, Rosneft]... [Now] Big Oil is back, seeking repeal of Cardin-Lugar so their payments can be kept secret from the people... Besides Big Oil, those most eager to repeal Cardin-Lugar are the autocrats, in places like Russia, Iran or Venezuela, with oil wells, gas fields or copper mines who want to keep the money secret from their citizens. Why do their bidding?

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