Mary Jo White. (Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/NLJ.)
A dozen congressional Democrats are pushing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to move ahead with a new rule that orders companies to report whether their goods have “conflict minerals” from the Democratic Republic of Congo, despite a federal appellate court ruling that cut some of the regulation.
In an April 21 letter that became public Tuesday, six senators and six House members told SEC chairwoman Mary Jo White that the agency shouldn’t postpone the implementation of the rule, which is set to take effect June 2. Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Barbara Boxer of California, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, as well as Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, Maxine Waters of California, Raul Grijalva of Arizona, Jim Moran of Virginia, John Lewis of Georgia and Gwen Moore of Wisconsin all signed the letter.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on April 14 upheld most of the regulation, which the SEC adopted under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In National Association of Manufacturers v. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a three-judge panel of the court ruled that the agency can require companies to disclose the “source and chain of custody of its conflict minerals.” But on First Amendment grounds, the court struck down a provision of the rule that would force businesses to publicly report if a product is “conflict free.” In a brief stating their opposition to the rule [PDF], lawyers for the National Association of Manufacturers said the regulation would “exacerbate the competitive harms to U.S. companies.”
Affiliate publication Corporate Counsel has more.