Bloomberg News

U.S. Lawmakers Challenge SEC on Wording in Conflict-Mineral Rule

February 22, 2012

Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may violate the intent of Congress if it permits companies to “furnish” rather than “file” disclosures on their use of so-called conflict minerals, a group of Democratic lawmakers said in a letter to the agency.

Furnishing rather than filing information about use of the gold, tin, tantalum or tungsten tied to warfare in Central Africa could diminish companies’ liability under securities law in a way that’s inconsistent with the intent of the Dodd-Frank Act provision requiring disclosures, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont and six other lawmakers wrote in a letter dated today.

“We are very concerned about the outlines of the final rule, in particular, that the Commission will approve a rule that contravenes Congress’ legislative intent,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter to SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro.

The SEC has yet to complete work on the conflict-minerals measure, missing the April 2011 deadline set under Dodd-Frank, the financial-regulation overhaul enacted in 2010. The rule will require public companies disclose whether any of the listed metals in their manufacturing or products came from the Democratic Republic of Congo or surrounding countries, where mining revenue has funded violent militia groups.

--Editors: Gregory Mott, Maura Reynolds

To contact the reporter on this story: Jesse Hamilton in Washington at jhamilton33@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Maura Reynolds at mreynolds34@bloomberg.net.


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