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Sustainability // Legislation

US House proposes Dodd-Frank conflict minerals repeal

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

After a series of recent court rulings and consultations, the US House of Representatives have passed a financial regulatory bill that would overhaul many of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, including a full repeal of its conflict minerals clause.

Clause 1502 of the Dodd Frank Act was a major stimulus to responsible minerals programmes and development of due diligence schemes in Central Africa, including the iTSCi project, when it was passed in 2010. US corporates registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were obliged to publically report on 'conflict minerals' sourcing.

Pushback moves have multiplied since, including the formal suspension by SEC of its enforcement of the disclosure rule after a court decision that such public disclosure was a violation of the US Constitution first amendment. Acting Chair of the SEC Michael Piwowar expressed strong reservations on the benefits of clause 1502 and has overseen a stakeholder consultation since January 2017. A second State Department consultation was launched in March-April following earlier rumours of a Trump administration draft executive order suspending the clause for two years.

Now the US House of Representatives has passed a new financial bill – the 'HR10 Financial CHOICE Act' – with wide-ranging reforms to the Dodd Frank Act and its management by SEC, including a call that provisions affected by clause 1502 be "restored or revived as if [it] had not been enacted". The bill was passed using the Republican majority, with all Democrats voting against.

The CHOICE Act still has to pass through the Senate, with the consensus view that only parts of it will have a realistic chance of enactment. The Senate may come up with its own version of the bill.

Full text of H.R.10 - Financial CHOICE Act of 2017


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