The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) emphatically condemns Congress’ vote to eliminate an important anti-corruption measure critical to ensuring American taxpayers can hold the government accountable for its dealings with the oil, gas, and mining industries.
The rule, known as the Cardin-Lugar provision, or Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, required oil, gas, and mining companies listed on US stock exchanges to disclose the royalties and taxes they pay to the US and foreign governments in order to extract natural resources, including those that are publicly owned. This protected U.S. national security and energy security interests by preventing secrecy and government abuse abroad.
POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian said:
“By gutting this anti-corruption rule, lawmakers have showed us they have no guts.
Without the rule, taxpayers will remain the dark, which is where the companies want to keep us. We have no idea right now how much, if any, the industry is paying in taxes. The Cardin-Lugar rule would’ve opened their books to public scrutiny.
The claim that Cardin-Lugar would damage the ability of American companies to be globally competitive was always bogus - as international companies are already subject to similar rules. Rather, it’s about keeping vital information away from the public, lest we find out, for example, that the US government isn’t receiving its fair share of taxes from natural resources extracted from public lands.”
Since the 1990s, POGO’s investigations into the federal government’s oversight of the oil, gas, and mining industries have uncovered widespread corruption and ethics violations that allowed the extractive industries to cheat billions of dollars of potential income from U.S. taxpayers.
The Cardin-Lugar provision is widely supported by investors, citizens, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, and governments around the world. It is a key element of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global transparency standard in which the US participates. Companies operating in the European Union (EU) are also required by law to make similar disclosures.