Oxfam condemns House gutting bipartisan anti-corruption rule

By Oxfam

In response to the House of Representatives’ passage of joint resolution 41 that effectively repeals the bipartisan Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption rule also known as Section 1504, Oxfam America’s Senior Policy Advisor for Extractive Industries, Isabel Munilla made the following statement:

“The House of Representatives voted for corruption today. Voting to roll-back basic transparency rules provides zero benefit for the public but will instead allow corrupt elites continue to stuff their pockets with oil money and steal from their citizens.

“The US has been at the forefront on the transparency issue, with more than 30 countries following in its footsteps to pass similar legislation. State owned companies from Brazil, China and Russia are all now required to disclose their payments. If the Senate follows suit in overturning this rule, the US will go from a leader into a laggard.

“The Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption provision was a bi-partisan move to ensure companies’ payments are made open to the public, allowing citizens to hold their governments accountable and ensure funds are spent to help communities fight poverty and build schools, roads and clinics. Some have falsely claimed such transparency puts American businesses at a competitive disadvantage vis a vis their foreign competitors. But precisely because of US leadership, all major domestic and foreign companies are now covered by the same non-burdensome reporting rules."

“As the Senate moves to confirm former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, the timing and priority of this bill could not be more suspect in light of his vocal opposition to the anti-corruption rule. By passing the resolution, oil companies like Exxon Mobil can keep their payments to governments in secret, and corruption will go unabated.

“As Senators take their turn to consider gutting this landmark rule, we hope they remember to vote against corruption, not for it.”

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