United States Expected to Fail International Transparency Test

The United States will likely fail to satisfy the requirements of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international standard for openness and accountability in natural resources extraction, according an inspection conducted by the Interior Department Office of Inspector General.

The EITI standard requires that companies publish what they pay and governments publish what they receive for the extraction of natural resources, including those taken from public lands. These disclosures are meant to help the public follow the money and ensure both governments and companies pay their fair share. While the United States has met most of the requirements of the EITI standard, the majority of US oil, gas, and mining companies have refused to disclose their taxes—a key component of the standard.

According to a report released today by the Inspector General, although the US government has met seven of the eight major EITI requirements, the government “expects not to be found in compliance with the EITI standard” until companies publicly disclose their tax payments. The US must be in compliance will all eight requirements or the international EITI board will give the country a failing grade. As a result the United States would no longer participate in EITI data disclosure.

The US government has voiced its support of EITI since 2003 and started the process of disclosing its data in 2012. Project On Government Oversight (POGO) Executive Director Danielle Brian has been a member of a multi-stakeholder committee of civil society, government, and industry representatives that guide the implementation of USEITI since 2012.

While most US companies have refused to publicly disclose their tax data, other natural resources revenue data is available on the USEITI website. This is the first time that the public has had access to such detailed data in user-friendly formats. The Interior Department plans to maintain the website and continue to disclose US government data, according to the report.

“USEITI has given the American public unprecedented access to data about natural resource extraction taking place in their backyards," POGO's Brian said. "It is deeply disappointing that, because most US extractives companies refuse to disclose what they pay—or don’t pay—in taxes, USEITI will likely come to an end.”

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Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

Contacts:
Mia Steinle, (202) 347-1122 and msteinle@pogo.org

or

Joe Newman, (202) 445-1391 and press@pogo.org

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